Eur. J. Entomol. 103 (1): 41-45, 2006 | 10.14411/eje.2006.006

Adaptive preferential selection of female coccinellid hosts by the parasitoid wasp Dinocampus coccinellae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)

Dexter S. DAVIS1, Sarah L. STEWART2, Andrea MANICA3, Michael E.N. MAJERUS*,4
1 St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, CB2 1RL, UK
2 Girton College, Cambridge, CB2 1EL, UK
3 Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK
4 Department of Genetics, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EH, UK, e-mail: m.majerus@gen.cam.ac.uk

Females of the parasitoid wasp Dinocampus coccinellae are known to parasitise both male and female coccinellid hosts. It is suggested that female hosts provide more resources for developing wasp larvae because they tend to be larger than male hosts, and female coccinellids have a much greater food intake than males. Thus the wasp's lifetime reproductive success should be increased by ovipositing preferentially in female rather than male hosts when given a choice. Laboratory experiments, using Coccinella septempunctata as a host, show that such a preference does exist. Wasps preferentially oviposit in females, and this preference is not simply a result of the larger mean size of females compared to males. These results corroborate higher rates of prevalence in female compared to male hosts reported previously.

Keywords: Parasitoidism, host discrimination, host sex, Dinocampus coccinellae, Braconidae, Coccinella septempunctata, Coccinellidae

Received: November 24, 2004; Accepted: October 25, 2005; Published: January 30, 2006; Published: January 30, 2006


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