Age-dependent clutch size in a koinobiont parasitoid

J.A. Elzinga, J.A. Harvey, A. Biere

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    1. The Lack clutch size theory predicts how many eggs a female should lay to maximise her fitness gain per clutch. However, for parasitoids that lay multiple clutches it can overestimate optimal clutch size because it does not take into account the future reproductive success of the parasitoid. 2. From egg-limitation and time-limitation models, it is theoretically expected that (i) clutch size decreases with age if host encounter rate is constant, and (ii) clutch size should increase with host deprivation and hence with age in host-deprived individuals. 3. Clutch sizes produced by ageing females of the koinobiont gregarious parasitoid Microplitis tristis Nees (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) that were provided daily with hosts, and of females ageing with different periods of host deprivation were measured. 4. Contrary to expectations, during the first 2 weeks, clutch size did not change with the age of the female parasitoid, neither with nor without increasing host-deprivation time. 5. After the age of 2 weeks, clutch size decreased for parasitoids that parasitised hosts daily. The decrease was accompanied by a strong decrease in available eggs. However, a similar decrease occurred in host-deprived parasitoids that did not experience egg depletion, suggesting that egg limitation was not the only factor causing the decrease in clutch size. 6. For koinobiont parasitoids like M. tristis that have low natural host encounter rates and short oviposition times, the costs of reproduction due to egg limitation, time limitation, or other factors are relatively small, if the natural lifespan is relatively short. 7. Koinobiont parasitoid species that in natural situations experience little variation in host density and host quality might not have strongly evolved the ability to adjust clutch size. [KEYWORDS: Ageing ; clutch size adjustment ; egg limitation ; Hadena bicruris ; host deprivation ; time limitation]
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-27
    JournalEcological Entomology
    Volume30
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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