Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 569–584 | Cite as

Differential Host Handling Behavior between Feeding and Oviposition in the Parasitic Wasp Haplogonatopus hernandezae

  • Floria M.K. UyEmail author
  • Ana Mercedes Espinoza


Lifetime fitness is directly influenced by the decision to use resources for either current or future reproduction. Thus, females should weigh the costs and benefits of each reproductive opportunity and allocate resources accordingly. Here, we explore decision-making and the time spent handling hosts of different instars in the parasitoid Haplogonatopus hernandezae, which uses a single planthopper host to either oviposit (i.e., current reproduction) or feed (i.e., future reproduction). Our results indicate that manipulation time in attacks that led to either oviposition and feeding increased with host instar and size. Consequently, attacks were less successful on older host instars than younger ones. Similarly, attack and handling time during oviposition was greater when manipulating fifth instar nymphs compared to younger ones, but oviposition time was similar. Surprisingly, host grasping by the chelate forelegs differed between oviposition and feeding events, and the specific chelate foreleg morphology of H. hernandezae facilitates the specific grasp of the clypeus and gena of the host. We also link this previously undescribed host grasping and differential handling behavior in this species to the final decision to oviposit or feed. Given the differences in handling time and effort among different host instars, we found that older hosts were more often chosen for consumption than younger hosts, and younger hosts were chosen more often for oviposition. Our study suggests that the tradeoff between current and future benefits is influenced by the investment in handling hosts of different instars, and the assessment of host suitability for successful offspring survival.


Decision-making Dryinidae Haplogonatopus hernandezae host-feeding host-handling oviposition parasitoid Tagosodes orizicolus 



We thank C. Barboza and R. Mora-Castro for their assistance in maintaining the planthopper and parasitoid colonies in the insectary of the Centro de Biología Celular y Molecular (CIBCM) of the University of Costa Rica. P. Hanson, W. Eberhard, A. Uy and W. Searcy, and members of the Uy and Searcy labs provided insightful comments on this manuscript. We are grateful to M. Vargas for Scanning Electron Microscope images. The filming equipment was provided by the Animal Behavior Laboratory at the Department of Biology, University of Costa Rica.

Supplementary material

10905_2018_9699_MOESM1_ESM.docx (137 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 137 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Escuela de BiologíaUniversidad de Costa RicaSan PedroCosta Rica
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA
  3. 3.Centro de Investigaciones en Biología Celular y MolecularUniversidad de Costa RicaSan PedroCosta Rica
  4. 4.Escuela de Agronomía, Facultad de Ciencias AgroalimentariasUniversidad de Costa RicaSan PedroCosta Rica

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