Patterns of growth, phenology and reproduction were studied in a field population of the wolf spider Pirata piraticus from November 1997 until October 1998 and in June 1999 to unravel the intrapopulation variation and co-variation of these traits. Individuals of P. piraticus overwinter as juveniles of different instars while adults were found from the end of April until September. Strong year to year variation in the age and size of overwintering juveniles was present, resulting in a corresponding difference in adult size in the subsequent breeding season. The main period of reproduction occurred from May until August with larger individuals breeding earlier in the season. The size at which adults breed was also significantly different in the successive years. Clutch mass (cocoon mass), clutch volume and fecundity are dependent on the size of the female according to a weakly negative allometric relationship. The differences in those reproductive traits between the succesive years are therefore proportionate to the differences in female size. This was in clear contrast to egg size, a life history trait that shows much less variation and appears to be independent of female size. Therefore, egg size was not significantly different between spring 1998 and spring 1999. There is, however, some variation in fecundity due to egg size and number independent of female size. When corrected for female size, females with larger eggs produce relatively fewer eggs indicating a trade-off between these two reproductive characters.
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