Journal Article Host discrimination modulates brood guarding behaviour and the adaptive superparasitism in the parasitoid wasp Trissolcus semistriatus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae)

Todoroki, Yusuke  ,  Numata, Hideharu

42 ( 4 )  , pp.363 - 368 , 2017-12 , Wiley-Blackwell
Because hosts utilized by parasitoids are vulnerable to further oviposition by conspecifics, host guarding benefits female wasps. The present study aims to test whether female adults regulate brood guarding behaviour by host discrimination in a solitary parasitoid Trissolcus semistriatus by presenting an intact or parasitized host egg mass to a female adult. Virgin females without oviposition experience have host discrimination ability, which enables them to adjust the number of eggs laid in the hosts. Mating experience increases superparasitism by female adults, whereas mated females achieve a higher discrimination ability as a result of oviposition experience and show a lower superparasitism rate. As expected, females exhibit brood guard after parasitizing an intact host egg mass, whereas those females visiting a previously parasitized host egg mass, do not. Because the survival of eggs in superparasitized hosts is relatively low, regulating brood guarding behaviour by host discrimination is adaptive for female wasps.

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