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Differential host growth regulation by the solitary endoparasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis in two hosts of greatly differing mass



Differential host growth regulation by the solitary endoparasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis in two hosts of greatly differing mass



Journal of Insect Physiology 56(9): 1178-1183



Solitary koinobiont endoparasitoids generally reduce the growth of their hosts by a significant amount compared with healthy larvae. Here, we compared the development and host usage strategies of the solitary koinobiont endoparasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis, when developing in larvae of a large host species (Mythimna separata) and a much smaller host species (Plutella xylostella). Caterpillars of M. separata were parasitized as L2 and P. xylostella as L3, when they weighed approximately 2mg. The growth of parasitized M. separata larvae was reduced by almost 95% compared with controls, whereas parasitized P. xylostella larvae grew some 30% larger than controls. Still, adult wasps emerging from M. separata larvae were almost twice as large as wasps emerging from P. xylostella larvae, had larger egg loads after 5 days and produced more progeny. Survival to eclosion was also higher on M. separata than on P. xylostella, although parasitoids developed significantly faster when developing on P. xylostella. Our results provide evidence that koinobionts are able to differentially regulate the growth of different host species. However, there are clearly also limitations in the ability of parasitoids to regulate phenotypic host traits when size differences between different host species are as extreme as demonstrated here.

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Accession: 037411397

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 20346952

DOI: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2010.03.018


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