1. In primary parasitoids, significant differences in life history and reproductive traits are observed among parasitoids attacking different stages of the same host species. Much less is known about hyperparasitoids, which attack different stages of primary parasitoids. 2. Parasitoids exploit hosts in two different ways. Koinobionts attack hosts that continue feeding and growing during parasitism, whereas idiobionts paralyse hosts before oviposition or attack non-growing host stages, e.g. eggs or pupae. 3. Koino-/idiobiosis in primary parasitoids are often associated with different expression of life history trade-offs, e.g. endo- versus ectoparasitism, high versus low fecundity and short versus long life span. 4. In the present study, life history parameters of two koinobiont endoparasitic species (Alloxysta victrix; Syrphophagus aphidivorus), and two idiobiont ectoparasitic species (Asaphes suspensus; Dendrocerus carpenteri) of aphid hyperparasitoids were compared. These hyperparasitoids attack eithe r the parasitoid larva in the aphid before it is killed and mummified by the primary parasitoid or the parasitoid prepupa or pupa in the dead aphid mummy. 5. There was considerable variation in reproductive success and longevity in the four species. The idiobiont A. suspensus produced the most progeny by far and had the longest lifespan. In contrast, the koinobiont A. victrix had the lowest fecundity. Other developments and life history parameters in the different species were variable. 6. The present results reveal that there was significant overlap in life history and reproductive traits among hyperparasitoid koinobionts and idiobionts, even when attacking the same host species, suggesting that selection for expression of these traits is largely association specific.
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