Fitness, parasitoids and biological control: an opinion

B.D. Roitberg, G. Boivin, L.E.M. Vet

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

    181 Citations (Scopus)


    Fitness, defined as the per capita rate of increase of a genotype with reference to the population carrying the associated genes, is a concept used by biologists to describe how well an individual performs in a population. Fitness: is rarely measured directly and biologists resort to proxies more easily measured but with varying connection to fitness. Size, progeny survival, and developmental rate are the most common proxies used in the literature to describe parasitoid fitness. The importance of the proxies varies between papers looking at evolutionary theories and those assessing ecological applications. The most direct measures of fitness for parasitoids are realised fecundity for females and mating ability for males, although these proxies are more difficult to measure under natural conditions. For practical purposes, measure of size, through body size or mass, is the proxy easiest to use while providing good comparative values; however, care must be taken when using a single proxy, as proxies can be affected differently by rearing conditions of the parasitoid. [KEYWORDS: LARVAL COMPETITION; QUALITY-CONTROL; CLUTCH SIZE; HOST; HYMENOPTERA; FIELD; SELECTION; WASP; SUPERPARASITISM; ICHNEUMONIDAE]
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)429-438
    JournalCanadian Entomologist
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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