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Lifetime reproductive success in the solitary endoparasitoid, Venturia canescens

Harvey, J.A. and Harvey, I.F. and Thompson, D.J. (2001) Lifetime reproductive success in the solitary endoparasitoid, Venturia canescens. Journal of Insect Behavior, 14, 573-593. ISSN 0892-7553.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1012219116341

Abstract

Parasitoid wasps have long been considered excellent organisms in studies examining the evolution of reproductive and life- history strategies. In examining the lifetime reproductive success of parasitoids in the laboratory, most investigations have provided the insects with excess hosts and food, where they exist in a relatively constraint-free environment. Importantly, these conditions may not accurately reflect the true heterogeneity of natural systems, where suitable hosts and food sources are likely to be limiting. This study examines the influence of differences in host and food availability on reproductive and life-history parameters in an asexual strain of the solitary endoparasitoid, Venturia canescens (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). Lifetime reproductive success in V. canescens was measured in response to temporal variations in host and food (honey solution) access. Cohorts of parasitoids were provided with 200 fifth-instar larvae of the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), and food for variable periods daily after eclosion. V. canescens is synovigenic, and host-deprived wasps continued to mature eggs over the first few days after eclosion until the egg storage capacity was reached in the oviducts. When these wasps were subsequently provided with hosts, oogenesis resumed and continued until later in adult life. Constantly fed wasps lived longer and produced more progeny than wasps from cohorts which were alternately fed and starved or were starved from eclosion. Moreover, wasps with constant host and food access produced most progeny early in life and usually experienced prolonged periods of postreproductive survival. In contrast, the reproductive period of wasps with limited host access was more evenly distributed throughout the adult life. Consequently, the cumulative progeny production by V. canescens with constant food access was fairly uniform irrespective of host availability. Longevity and fecundity in V canescens were positively correlated with adult size. However, variable host access had little effect on the longevity of wasps which were constantly supplied with honey. Over the first 2 days of adult life, variation in food access also had no effect on progeny production by V canescens. We argue that manipulating temporal host and food access to parasitoids in the laboratory more closely approximates natural conditions, where these resources are likely to be spatially separated. Moreover, our findings suggest that many highly synovigenic parasitoids like V. canescens, which produce microtype (=hydropic) eggs, have a considerably higher reproductive potential than ovary dissections have revealed. Our findings are discussed in relation to life-history evolution in the parasitic Hymenoptera. [KEYWORDS: parasitoid; reproductive success; Venturia canescens; Plodia interpunctella; synovigenic; life-history strategy Size-fitness hypothesis; egg load; parasitoid wasp; clutch size; oviposition decisions; plodia-interpunctella; host availability; hymenoptera; behavior; field]

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:11011
Deposited On:24 Nov 2011 01:00
Last Modified:31 Mar 2014 10:32

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