Effects of food quality on trade-offs among growth, immunity and survival in the greater wax moth Galleria mellonella

Indrikis Krams, Sanita Kecko, Katariina Kangassalo, Fhionna R. Moore, Eriks Jankevics, Inna Inashkina, Tatjana Krama, Vilnis Lietuvietis, Laila Meija, Markus J. Rantala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


The resources available to an individual in any given environment are finite, and variation in life history traits reflect differential allocation of these resources to competing life functions. Nutritional quality of food is of particular importance in these life history decisions. In this study, we tested trade-offs among growth, immunity and survival in 3 groups of greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella) larvae fed on diets of high and average nutritional quality. We found rapid growth and weak immunity (as measured by encapsulation response) in the larvae of the high-energy food group. It took longer to develop on food of average nutritional quality. However, encapsulation response was stronger in this group. The larvae grew longer in the low-energy food group, and had the strongest encapsulation response. We observed the highest survival rates in larvae of the low-energy food group, while the highest mortality rates were observed in the high-energy food group. A significant negative correlation between body mass and the strength of encapsulation response was found only in the high-energy food group revealing significant competition between growth and immunity only at the highest rates of growth. The results of this study help to establish relationships between types of food, its nutritional value and life history traits of G. mellonella larvae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-439
Number of pages9
JournalInsect Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Galleria mellonella
  • Growth
  • Immunity
  • Life history
  • Nutrition
  • Survival

Field of Science*

  • 1.6 Biological sciences
  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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