Evol Ecol Res 12: 259-267 (2010)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

The effect of host starvation on parasitoid brood size in a polyembryonic wasp

Michal Segoli1, Ally R. Harari1,2, Amos Bouskila1 and Tamar Keasar3

1Department of Life Sciences, Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel,  2Department of Entomology, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel and  3Department of Biology, University of Haifa – Oranim, Tivon, Israel

Correspondence: M. Segoli, Department of Life Sciences, Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel.
e-mail: msegoli@bgu.ac.il


Hypothesis: Offspring of polyembryonic parasitoid wasps (in which each egg divides clonally to produce several individuals inside a host body) adjust their numbers according to the host carrying capacity.

Organism: The polyembryonic parasitoid wasp, Copidosoma koehleri, parasitizes the potato tuber moth, Phthorimaea operculella.

Methods: We starved parasitized host larvae during the wasp embryonic division phase. We recorded host mass and the number of wasps in sub-samples of dissected hosts throughout development and upon pupation and emergence.

Results: Starvation significantly reduced larval host mass but this was largely compensated at the pupal stage, probably through delayed pupation. Starved hosts tended to harbour fewer wasps but this effect was marginally non-significant.

Conclusions: Wasp offspring do seem to adjust their numbers in response to host starvation, but not strongly.

Keywords: brood size, Copidosoma koehleri, host quality, host starvation.

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