In nature adult insects, such as parasitic wasps or ‘parasitoids’ often depend on supplemental nutritional sources, such as sugars and other carbohydrates, to maximize their life-expectancy and reproductive potential. These food resources are commonly obtained from animal secretions or plant exudates, including honeydew, fruit juices and both floral and extra-floral nectar. In addition to exogenous sources of nutrition, adult parasitoids obtain endogenous sources from their hosts through ‘host-feeding’ behavior, whereby blood is imbibed from the host. Resources obtained from the host contain lipids, proteins and sugars that are assumed to enhance longevity and/or fecundity. Here we conducted an experiment exploring the effects of naturally occurring sugars on longevity and fecundity in the solitary hyperparasitoids, Lysibia nana and Gelis agilis. Although both species are closely related, L. nana does not host-feed whereas G. agilis does. In a separate experiment, we compared reproduction and longevity in G. agilis reared on either honey, a honey-sugar ‘mimic’, and glucose. Reproductive success and longevity in both hyperparasitoids varied significantly when fed on different sugars. However, only mannose- and water-fed wasps performed significantly more poorly than wasps fed on four other sugar types. G. agilis females fed honey produced twice as many progeny as those reared on the honey-sugar mimic or on glucose, whereas female longevity was only reduced on the mimic mixture. This result shows not only that host feeding influences reproductive success in G. agilis, but also that non-sugar constituents in honey do. The importance of non-sugar nutrients in honey on parasitoid reproduction is discussed.
Harvey, J. A., Cloutier, J., Visser, B., Ellers, J., Wackers, F. L., & Gols, R. (2012). The effect of different dietary sugars and honey on longevity and fecundity in two hyperparasitoid wasps. Journal of Insect Physiology, 58(6), 816-823. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinsphys.2012.03.002