Host Preference and Fitness of Lysiphlebus testaceipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) in Different Instars of the Aphid Schizaphis graminum
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Parasitoid fitness is strongly influenced by host quality for immature parasitoid development and by oviposition host choice patterns made by adult female parasitoids. This study aimed to determine immature host quality of Schizaphis graminum (Rondani) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and Lysiphlebus testaceipes (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) host instars preference. To this end, the host quality of immature stages of S. graminum was assessed by rearing the parasitoid in all four instars of the aphid, placing each nymph stage of the aphid parasitized by L. testaceipes in separate Petri dishes with sorghum leaves over a 1% agar-water solution at 23 ± 1°C and a 12:12 h L:D photoperiod. The host-age preferences of the parasitoid between second and fourth instar nymphs were analyzed by choice (ten nymphs of each instar) and non-choice (ten nymphs of one instar) tests, observing parasitoid foraging in a 5-cm arena for 5 min under a stereoscopic microscope. Third and fourth instars were better hosts than first or second instars, with faster developmental times, resulting in larger wasps with bigger hind tibia size and more eggs in their ovarioles (i.e., higher initial egg load). Females preferred to oviposit in fourth instar aphids in both choice and non-choice tests. Selection by adult L. testaceipes females of older instars of S. graminum for oviposition maximizes parasitoid fitness as these instars are intrinsically more suitable for development of parasitoid offspring.
KeywordsAphid greenbug host choice host quality parasitoid behavior
Author Contribution Statement
MVS planed and designed experimental work; LJPV and GMF executed experimental work; MVS and LJPV conducted data analyses; and LJPV, GMF and MVS wrote the manuscript.
We are grateful to the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) for providing financial support to the INCT-HYMPAR, and the Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and CNPq for, respectively, the master’s degree scholarship for LJ Pacheco and the undergraduate scholarship for GM Franco.
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