Nutritional ecology of the interaction between larvae of the gregarious ectoparasitoid, Muscidifurax raptorellus (Hym: Pteromalidae) and its pupal host, Musca domestica (Dipt: Muscidae)

J.A. Harvey, L.E.M. Vet, N. Jiang, R. Gols

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In this study we examined the relationship between clutch size and parasitoid development of Muscidifurax raptorellus (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae), a gregarious idiobiont attacking pupae of the housefly, Musca domestica (Diptera: Muscidae). Host quality was controlled in the experiments by presenting female parasitoids with hosts of similar size and age. This is the first study to monitor the development of a gregarious idiobiont parasitoid throughout the course of parasitism. Most female wasps laid clutches of one to four eggs per host, although some hosts contained eight or more parasitoid larvae. In both sexes, parasitoids completed development more rapidly, but emerging adult wasp size decreased as parasitoid load increased. Furthermore, the size variability of eclosing parasitoid siblings of the same sex increased with clutch size. Irrespective of clutch size, parasitoids began feeding and growing rapidly soon after eclosion from the egg and this continued until pupation. However, parasitoids in hosts containing five or more parasitoid larvae pupated one day earlier than hosts containing one to four larvae. The results are discussed in relation to adaptive patterns of host utilization by gregarious idiobiont and koinobiont parasitoids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-120
JournalPhysiological Entomology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


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