Host-feeding by parasitoid wasps has been viewed as a positive attribute for biological control, because hosts are killed as a result of host-feeding in addition to parasitism. Host acceptance and host-feeding responses to unparasitized vs. conspecifically parasitized hosts by the parasitoid wasp Itoplectis naranyae Ashmead were studied in the laboratory. Female I. naranyae selected to oviposit in unparasitized hosts and those that had been parasitized 1 h previously, in equal proportions, even when allowed access to both types of host. Females also fed upon both types of host equally. Females, however, avoided ovipositing in hosts parasitized 40 h and 70 h previously, and preferentially fed upon them when allowed access both to parasitized and to unparasitized hosts. Parasitoid progeny in hosts which had been used for host-feeding suffered a high degree of mortality. Females used host internal changes as cues for deciding whether to feed on hosts. It is suggested that immature parasitoid mortality can be increased due to female preference for using parasitized hosts for host-feeding. Hence, host-feeding by I. naranyae may not be an advantageous biological control characteristic. The adaptive significance of selective host-feeding is also discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Insect Science