Effect of wasp size, physiological state, and prior host experience on host-searching behavior in a parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae)

Kanako Ueno, Takatoshi Ueno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Host-searching behavior in insects generally varies among individuals. A number of physiological and environmental factors can be involved in such individual variation. Here, a series of behavioral observations were made to highlight the importance of physiological state (i.e., number of mature eggs a female carries, amount of nutrient reserves, etc.) and learning state (i.e., prior host experience) on host-approaching behavior of parasitoids. Itoplectis naranyae (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), a solitary endoparasitoid wasp attacking lepidopteran pupae and prepupae, was used as a test insect. The results show that female wasps with experience ovipositing on hosts 2 days before the test found hosts more quickly than did naïve wasps. Prior experience of host odor itself did not affect host-finding behavior, however. A single oviposition was enough for wasps to shorten time to find a host; additional experience had no significant effect on the efficiency of searching. The number of mature eggs a female carried had no effect on the time required to find a host regardless of prior host experience. The size of wasps, instead, was a significant factor when wasps had no prior host experience, and larger wasps found hosts more rapidly than did smaller wasps. Searching activity was not affected by how many hosts a female wasp had fed on before testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Ethology
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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