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Costs and benefits of polyandry in the egg parasitoid Trichogramma evanescens Westwood (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae)

Costs and benefits of polyandry in the egg parasitoid Trichogramma evanescens Westwood (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae)

Biological Control 32(2): 311-318

Polyandry implies costs (i.e., time, energy, predation risk, etc.) especially in short-lived parasitoid species but females of several hymenopteran parasitoid species, mostly gregarious, do mate with multiple males. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the benefits of polyandry but controversy remains, especially in facultative gregarious species that bridge the gap between solitary and gregarious development. In this study, we investigated the possibility that polyandry may bring material benefits to Trichogramma evanescens Westwood (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) females, a short-lived and facultative gregarious egg parasitoid. Females mated several times with different males both at emergence and throughout their life. No significant difference was found in the offspring sex ratio and the fecundity of multiple mated and single mated females and pre-mating duration increased with the female's age. The longevity of females did vary significantly with the number of matings but only in the presence of hosts. Female T. evanescens received enough sperm from one mating to allocate an optimal offspring sex ratio and we found no evidence of either nutritional resources or convenience polyandry in this species. Polyandry in facultative gregarious parasitoids might be an adaptive strategy to minimize the risk of mating with males that have already emptied their sperm bank or to accumulate sperm from several partially sperm-depleted males. Polyandry may also increase the probability of non-sib mating in patches exploited by several females.

Accession: 004090549

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DOI: 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2004.10.009

Download PDF Full Text: Costs and benefits of polyandry in the egg parasitoid Trichogramma evanescens Westwood (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae)

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