Switch-induced developmental plasticity, such as the diapause decision in insects, is a major form of adaptation to variable environments. As individuals that follow alternative developmental pathways will experience different selective environments the diapause decision may evolve to a cascade switch that induces additional adaptive developmental differences downstream of the diapause decision. Here, we show that individuals following alternative developmental pathways in a Swedish population of the butterfly, Pararge aegeria, display differential optimization of adult body mass as a likely response to predictable differences in thermal conditions during reproduction. In a more northern population where this type of selection is absent no similar difference in adult mass among pathways was found. We conclude that the diapause decision in the southern population appears to act as a cascade switch, coordinating development downstream of the diapause decision, to produce adult phenotypes adapted to the typical thermal conditions of their expected reproductive period.