Understanding the mismatch between behaviour and development in a novel host-parasitoid association


Konopka, J.K., Poinapen, D., Gariepy, T., McNeil, J.N. (2018). Understanding the mismatch between behaviour and development in a novel host-parasitoid association. Scientific Reports, [online] 8(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-33756-6

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This research investigates the different behaviors that lead up to parasitism of a host egg mass by a parasitic wasp. It dissects the different behaviors and looks at their relative importance in terms of successful parasitism or unsuccessful parasitism.


Foraging parasitoid females should preferentially oviposit on hosts most suitable for progeny development to maximize their fitness. However, the introduction of a new host species may disrupt the link between the reliability of the cues and the expected adaptive outcome of female choice, leading to an evolutionary trap. This mismatch between behavioural acceptance and lack of development exists for North American and European egg parasitoids (Scelionidae) that encounter invasive Halyomorpha halys in areas where this exotic host has recently established. To explain this mismatch, we utilized an L9 orthogonal array design to assess and rank the influence of several critical factors characterizing host resource (host species, egg age, egg status, and surface wash) on behaviour (acceptance, patch residence and patch exploitation) and development of North American native Trissolcus euschisti egg parasitoid. Our results indicate that the host egg age is most important for behaviour, but is least influential for development of the progeny. This study suggests that the maladaptive decision to oviposit in an unsuitable host is due to a mismatch between the cues that females use, and the subsequent expected outcome of this choice. Therefore, it is the relative importance of individual factors when assessed simultaneously that influences the decision-making of female parasitoids.

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