Abstract 1. Capital breeders rely solely on resources acquired before breeding, whereas income breeders may obtain considerable amounts of resources following the commencement of reproduction. In income breeders oviposition occurs over a longer time period with a small number of eggs ready to be laid at the start of adult life, whereas capital breeders reproduce more rapidly and contain higher numbers of mature eggs at eclosion relative to potential fecundity.
2. This study explored egg maturation and oviposition strategy of a nocturnal geometrid moth, Cleorodes lichenaria. It was predicted, based on the long larval period of C. lichenaria and the known biology of other geometrids, that this lichen-feeding geometrid moth concentrates egg production at the beginning of its breeding period and that external nutrients have a limited role on its fecundity.
3. Approximately 46% of eggs were ready to be laid in newly hatched females and approximately 40% of their potential fecundity was realised during the first night, after which the number and the weight of eggs decreased steadily. Feeding or drinking did not increase the fecundity of females. Pupal mass correlated positively with realised fecundity and ovigeny index.
4. Reproduction of C. lichenaria is based solely on larval-derived resources. It is suggested that females are able to resorb thoracic tissues to increase fecundity and that this ability is probably linked to relatively long lifespan and low ovigeny index of this species, characteristics rarely observed in other geometrid moths.