Life histories can reveal important information on the performance of individuals within their environment and how that affects evolutionary change. Major trait changes, such as trait decay or loss, may lead to pronounced differences in life history strategies when tight correlations between traits exist. Here, we show that three congeneric hyperparasitoids (Gelis agilis, Gelis acarorum and Gelis areator) that have diverged in wing development and reproductive mode employ markedly different life history strategies. Potential fecundity of Gelis sp. varied, with the wingless G. acarorum maturing a much higher number of eggs throughout life compared with the other two species. Realized lifetime fecundity, in terms of total offspring number was, however, highest for the winged G. areator. The parthenogenic G. agilis invests its resources solely in females, whilst the sexually reproducing species both invested heavily in males to reduce competitive pressures for their female offspring. Longevity also differed between species, as did the direction of the reproduction-longevity trade-off, where reproduction is heavily traded off against longevity only in the asexual G. agilis. Resting metabolic rates also differed between the winged and wingless species, with the highest metabolic rate observed in the winged G. areator. Overall, these geline hyperparasitoids showed considerable divergence in life history strategies, both in terms of timing and investment patterns. Major trait changes observed between closely related species, such as the loss of wings and sexual reproduction, may contribute to the divergence in key life history traits.
Visser, B., Le Lann, C., Snaas, H., Verdeny-Vilalta, O., & Harvey, J. A. (2016). Divergent life history strategies in congeneric hyperparasitoids. Evolutionary Ecology, 30(3), 535-549. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10682-016-9819-6