Microplitis croceipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a larval parasitoid of Helicoverpa/Heliothis spp. In the course of mass rearing of M. croceipes, we found that females oviposited in the conspecific adults in rearing cages. When 20 pairs of inexperienced females and males or of experienced females and males were reared in a cage, the males lived for 14-15 days and the females for 18-20 days on average. At their death, 37-42% of the males and 50-57% of the females contained conspecific eggs or first instar larvae in their abdominal cavity. When two of inexperienced females met on a host-infested leaf of soybean, they attempted to sting each other. Of the attacked females, 30% contained a conspecific egg laid in their abdomen. In abdominal cavity of the adults parasitized by a conspecific female, the majority of the parasitoid eggs laid disappeared within 1 day after oviposition. Only 10-30% of the parasitoid eggs laid in conspecific adults hatched 3-4 days after oviposition, but those larvae never molted to second instar. When the adults were stung by one or two conspecific females, their subsequent longevity was significantly shorter than that for the control adults. Oviposition in conspecific adults may be prevalent in other parasitic wasps that quickly oviposit without intensive host examination, and have cuticle and size of abdomen to be stung by conspeicifcs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics