Eur. J. Entomol. 106 (3): 363-367, 2009 | 10.14411/eje.2009.046

Effect of female size on host selection by a koinobiont insect parasitoid (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae)

Dionyssios LYKOURESSIS1, Nikolaos GARANTONAKIS1, Dionyssios PERDIKIS1, Argyro FANTINOU2, Andronikos MAUROMOUSTAKOS3
1 Laboratory of Agricultural Zoology and Entomology, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, 118 55 Athens, Greece; e-mail: dperdikis@aua.gr
2 Laboratory of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, 118 55 Athens, Greece
3 Agricultural Statistics Laboratory, 101 AGRX, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA

Body size is a main fitness component of insect parasitoids. We assessed the potential influence of maternal size of the parasitoid wasp Aphidius colemani Viereck (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae) on its ability to parasitize the different instars of Aphis gossypii Glover (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on eggplant and cucumber. In the experiments "small" vs "large" parasitoid females were used. Females oviposited in all instars but more of the smaller hosts were parasitized. Host selection was affected by female size and the larger hosts were more frequently mummified by the large than the small females. Thus, parasitoid female size influenced host selection. This could affect the potential of the parasitoid to exploit populations of aphids that differ in their size structure. The importance of these results in terms of the ecological adaptations of the parasitoid and their implication for biological control are discussed.

Keywords: Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Aphidius colemani, Hemiptera, Aphis gossypii, Myzus persicae, aphid, body size, host selection

Received: August 1, 2008; Accepted: March 3, 2009; Published: July 24, 2009

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