acta ethologica

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 145–147 | Cite as

Observations on the mating behavior of a dryinid and first record of sexual cannibalism in the hymenoptera

  • Eduardo Gabriel Virla
  • Martin Sebastián EspinosaEmail author
Short Communication


Sexual cannibalism is a phenomenon that has been reported in a wide variety of invertebrate predators. In arthropods, it has been documented mostly in arachnids. The Dryinidae, a small cosmopolitan family of aculeate hymenopterans, are exclusively parasitic of the hemipteran suborders Cicadomorpha and Fulgoromorpha. They include some species that have been successfully employed in biological control programs. The ecology and biology of the Dryinidae is generally little known. In this short communication, studying biological traits of Gonatopus chilensis, a parasitoid of planthoppers, we report two novel facts for dryinid species: occasionally virgin females were re-mated by the same male, and after mating, occasionally young females caught the male and devoured its gaster. This is the first record of sexual cannibalism for the family Dryinidae and, to our knowledge, for the order Hymenoptera.


Gonatopodinae Parasitoids Host-feeding Planthoppers Gonatopus chilensis Metadelphax propinqua 


Supplementary material

10211_2019_315_MOESM1_ESM.mp4 (122.4 mb)
ESM 1 (MP4 125332 kb)


  1. Ayasse M, Paxton RJ, Tengö J (2001) Mating behavior and chemical communication in the order Hymenoptera. Annu Rev Entomol 46:31–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boulton RA, Shuker DM (2015) A sex allocation cost to polyandry in a parasitoid wasp. Biol Lett 11:20150205. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burger JMS, Kormany A, van Lenteren JC, Vet LEM (2005) Importance of host feeding for parasitoids that attack honeydew-producing hosts. Entomol Exp Appl 117:147–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chan MS, Godfray HCJ (1993) Host-feeding strategies of parasitoid wasps. Evol Ecol 7:593–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Eickwort GC, Ginsberg HS (1980) Foraging and mating behavior in Apoidea. Annu Rev Entomol 25:421–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Elgar MA (1992) Sexual cannibalism in spiders and other invertebrates. In: M. A., Elgar & B. J., Crespi (ed) Cannibalism: ecology and evolution among diverse taxa. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 128–155Google Scholar
  7. Espinosa MS, Virla EG (2018) Egg maturation by Gonatopus bonaerensis (Hymenoptera: Dryinidae) when provided with two species of planthopper (Delphacidae) as hosts. Biol Control 117:123–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fisher AM, Cornell SJ, Holwell GI, Price TAR (2018) Sexual cannibalism and population viability. Ecology and Evolution 8:1–8. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Heimpel GE, Rosenheim JA (1995) Dynamic host feeding in the parasitoid Aphytis melinus: the balance between current and future reproduction. J Anim Ecol 64:153–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jervis MA (1979) Courtship, mating and “swarming” in Aphelopus melaleucus (Dalman) (Hymenoptera: Dryinidae). Entomologist's Gazette 30:191–193Google Scholar
  11. Jervis MA, Kidd NAC (1986) Host-feeding strategies in hymenopteran parasitoids. Biol Rev 61:395–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mora-Kepfer F, Espinoza AM (2009) Parasitism and predation of the planthopper Tagosodes orizicolus (Homoptera: Delphacidae) by a dryinid parasitoid in Costa Rica. Rev Biol Trop 57:2003–2011Google Scholar
  13. Olmi M, Virla EG (2014) Dryinidae of the Neotropical region (Hymenoptera: Chrysidoidea). Zootaxa 3792(1):1–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ridley M (1993) Clutch size and mating frequency in parasitic Hymenoptera. Am Nat 142:893–910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rios-Reyes AV, Moya-Raygoza G (2004) Ciclo biológico, parasitismo y depredación de Gonatopus bartletti Olmi, 1984 (Hymenoptera: Dryinidae), un enemigo natural de la chicharrita Dalbulus maidis (Delong & Wolcott, 1923) (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). Folia Entomol Mex 43(3):249–255Google Scholar
  16. Sahragard A, Jervis MA, Kidd NAC (1991) Influence of host availability on rates of oviposition and host-feeding, and on longevity in Dicondylus indianus Olmi (Hem. Dryinidae). J Appl Entomol 112:153–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sentenská L, Pekár S (2014) Eat or not to eat: reversed sexual cannibalism as a male foraging strategy in the spider Micaria sociabilis (Araneae: Gnaphosidae). Ethology 120:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Suttle KB (1999) The evolution of sexual cannibalism. University of California, Berkeley Google Scholar
  19. Virla EG (1995) Biologia de Pseudogonatopus chilensis Olmi 1989 (Hymenoptera: Dryinidae). Acta Entomologica Chilena 19:123–127Google Scholar
  20. Virla EG (2004) Biología de Gonatopus bonaerensis (Hymenoptera: Drynidae), enemigo natural de Delphacidae (Hemiptera) en Argentina. Rev Fac Agron, La Plata 105(2):18–26Google Scholar
  21. Waloff N (1974) Biology and behavior of some species of Dryinidae (Hymenoptera). J Entomol(A) 49:97–109Google Scholar
  22. Yamada YY, Ikawa K (2003) Adaptive significance of facultative infanticide in the semi-solitary parasitoid Echthrodelphax fairchildii. Ecol Entomol 28:613–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ISPA, CRL 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PROIMI- Biotecnología – CONICETSan Miguel de TucumánArgentina
  2. 2.Fundación Miguel LilloSan Miguel de TucumánArgentina
  3. 3.UNdeC (Universidad Nacional de Chilecito)ChilecitoArgentina
  4. 4.CONICETCABAArgentina

Personalised recommendations