A comparative study of the life history and foraging behaviour of aphid hyperparasitoids

Authors: Buitenhuis, Rosemarije
Advisor: Brodeur, Jacques
Abstract: Hyperparasitoids are parasitic wasps that attack primary parasitoids. They constitute the fourth trophic level in many ecosystems. A better understanding of hyperparasitoid biology and behaviour is needed to unravel the nature of parasitoid - hyperparasitoid interactions and their role in the functioning of communities and ecosystems. In this thesis, the life history traits and host searching behaviour of aphid hyperparasitoids are studied using a direct comparative approach. Four species were chosen that differ in development mode (koinobiont or idiobiont), host stage attacked and host range: Dendrocerus carpenteri (Curtis) (Megaspilidae), Asaphes suspensus Walker (Pteromalidae), Alloxysta victrix (Westwood) (Alloxystidae) et Syrphophagus aphidivorus (Mayr) (Encyrtidae) have been studied on the same potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), potato aphid (Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas)) and primary parasitoid (Aphidius nigripes Ashmead) system. The results revealed a large variation in life history traits between species, which could not be explained simply by dichotomy in development mode, as proposed for primary parasitoids. The hyperparasitoid S. aphidivorus is special because females can attack the parasitoid host in the still-living aphid, or in the mummified aphid. Female S. aphidivorus had a preference for aphid mummies, which also contain the most profitable host stage for hyperparasitoid development. Olfactometer tests and behavioural observations indicated that searching hyperparasitoid females were not attracted by olfactory cues. However, they clearly reacted to host-related contact cues while searching on a plant. Here, honeydew was one of the principal contact cues used by female hyperparasitoids to locate hosts. Females discriminated between honeydew from an aphid host and that from a non-host, the soft brown scale, Coccus hesperidum, but made no difference between honeydew from healthy, unparasitised aphids, and those parasitised by A. nigripes. This study indicates that several factors probably act simultaneaously on life history strategies. The simple classification of aphid hyperparasitoids as koinobiont endoparasitoids of parasitoid larvae in living aphids, or idiobiont ectoparasitoids of parasitoid pupae in mummified aphids does not explain all observed interspecific differences. Lineage specific effects must also be important, as the species belong to different taxa. Finally, in many aspects, the life history parameters and behaviour of aphid hyperparastoids differ from those reported for primary aphid parasitoids.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2004
Open Access Date: 11 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/17874
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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