This study examines the optimal seasonal timing of the life cycle for univoltine and bivoltine insects, assuming that resource availability has a peak in the middle of a year and is symmetric around it. Results show that if the growth rate increases in proporrion to the bodyweight, bivoltine life cannot be optimal. If the growth rate is a power function of the bodyweight with a power smaller than unity, a symmetric bivoltine solution can be the optimal provided that the resource availability has a plateau in the middle of the season. If the resource availability has a sharp peak, the optimal pattern is an asymmetric bivoltine solution in which the larval periods of two generations differ in length. The bivoltine life cycle is more likely to be superior to the univoltine one if: growth is fast, suitable growing season is long, biomass loss during nonlarval stages is small, and egg size is small.
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