Santhi Bhavanam

Doctor of Philosophy, (Science)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Effect of nutrient limitation on the Mediterranean flour moth, Ephestia kuehniella Zeller

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Food shortage experienced by developing insects alters resource allocation patterns, morphology and life-history strategy. Little is known about the plastic responses exhibited to changes in environment by stored-product pests of Lepidoptera species. Miss Santhi manipulated population densities, created food stress and studied the effects of nutrition limitation on the Mediterranean flour moth, Ephestia kuehniella Zeller and found that food-stressed males and females each developed sex-specific strategies appropriate for the prevailing environment that increased their reproductive success. In addition, both sexes developing under food-stressed conditions successfully obtained mate, and in the absence of direct material benefits, mate choice decisions provided indirect genetic benefits that increased offspring fitness. Her research findings enhance our understanding of the way animals respond to stressful conditions which is important in light of rapid anthropogenic climatic change and habitat fragmentation, and refinement of pest management tactics.

Professor Steven Trewick
Professor Cory Matthew