Fitness accrues to organisms to the extent that they survive and produce more offspring than do their competitors. Hence, the efficiency with which assimilated resources are allocated to growth and reproduction determines fitness. However, except for sessile organisms, much of the assimilated energy and material must be allocated to activities pursuant to food acquisition, dispersal, mating, competition, and defense. The amount of assimilated resources allocated to these activities reduces relative growth efficiency (Schultz 1983, Zera and Denno 1997). Clearly, the diversion of resources from growth and reproduction to these other pathways must represent a net benefit to the insect.
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