Thus far, few studies have compared life-history traits amongst secondary parasitoids attacking and developing in cocoons of their primary parasitoid hosts. This study examines development and reproduction in Lysibia nana Gravenhorst and Acrolyta nens Hartig (both Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), two related and morphologically similar secondary parasitoids that attack pupae of the gregarious endoparasitoid, Cotesia glomerata L. (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). On black mustard, Brassica nigra L. (Brassicaceae) plants in a field plot, adults of L. nana and A. nens frequently emerged from the same cocoon broods of C. glomerata. Based on similarities in their phylogeny and morphology, it was hypothesized that both species would exhibit considerable overlap in other life-history traits. In both L. nana and A. nens, adult wasp size increased with host cocoon mass at parasitism, although L. nana wasps were slightly larger than A. nens wasps, and completed their development earlier. Adult females of both species emerged with no eggs but matured eggs at similar rates over the following days. When provided with 20 host cocoons daily, fecundity in female L. nana was slightly more skewed towards early life than in A. nens, although lifetime fecundity did not differ between the two species. Longevity was significantly reduced in females of both species that were provided with hosts. Both parasitoids were found to exhibit strong similarities in life-history and development traits and in their ecological niche, thereby supporting our general hypothesis. Competition between L. nana and A. nens is presumably diffused because their preferred host (C. glomerata) is relatively abundant in open habitats.
Harvey, J. A., Wagenaar, R., & Bezemer, T. M. (2009). Life-history traits in closely related secondary parasitoids sharing the same primary parasitoid host: evolutionary opportunities and constraints. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 132(2), 155-164. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1570-7458.2009.00882.x