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The fitness consequences of superparasitism and the mechanism of host discrimination in Cotesia flavipes, a larval parasitoid of concealed stemborer larvae was investigated. Naive females readily superparasitized and treated the already parasitized host as an unparasitized host by allocating the same amount of eggs as in an unparasitized host. However, there was no significant increase in the number of emerging parasitoids from superparasitized hosts due to substantial mortality of parasitoid offspring in superparasitized hosts. Furthermore, the developmental time of the parasitoids in a superparasitized host was significantly longer than in a singly parasitized host and the emerging progeny were significantly smaller (body length and head width). Naive females entered a tunnel in which the host was parasitized 4 h previously and accepted it for oviposition. Experienced females (oviposition experience in unparasitized host) refused to enter a tunnel with a host parasitized by herself or by another female. In experiments where the tunnel and/or host was manipulated it was demonstrated that the female leaves a mark in the tunnel when she parasitizes a host. The role of patch marking in C. flavipes is discussed in relation to the ecology of the parasitoid.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Journal publication date1997

ID: 345434