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New Zealand Plant Protection 64 (2011): 37-43

Host selection for self-superparasitism by Diaeretiella rapae (M'Intosh) (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae)

R. Kant, M.A. Minor, S.A. Trewick and W.R.M. Sandanayaka


Superparasitism (repeated oviposition in same host) indicates either a fitness benefit for the parasitoid, or an inability of ovipositing females to discriminate parasitised versus unparasitised hosts. Superparasitism in Diaeretiella rapae, the solitary endoparasitoid of cabbage aphid Brevicoryne brassicae, was studied in the laboratory. When given a choice of parasitised and unparasitised aphids, 70% of females made their attack on unparasitised hosts first, even though already-parasitised aphids were less defensive to parasitoid attack and ovipositing females had shorter host-handling time. The female superparasitised hosts during repeated attack and the large hosts were superparasitised more often than the small ones. Although superparasitised hosts carried two to five parasitoid larvae, only one larva developed into an adult. The body size of parasitoid larvae, as measured 4 days after oviposition, was affected by the total number of larvae in the host. Superparasitism strategies of D. rapae are discussed in the context of reproductive fitness.

Keywords: superparasitism, host defence, Brevicoryne brassicae, Diaeretiella rapae.

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New Zealand Plant Protection 61: 355-361

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