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Keywords:

  • allometry;
  • aphids;
  • body size;
  • body mass;
  • parasitoid;
  • Monoctonus paulensis;
  • host quality

Abstract

We describe the allometry of body mass and body size as measured by hind-tibia length in males of Monoctonus paulensis (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae, Aphidiinae), a solitary parasitoid of aphids. To assess the influence of host quality on allometric relationships, we reared parasitoids on second and fourth nymphal instars of four different aphid species, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris), Macrosiphum creelii Davis, Myzus persicae (Sulzer) and Sitobion avenae (F.), under controlled conditions in the laboratory. Dry mass was positively correlated with hind-tibia length, and could be predicted from it, in unparasitized aphids, in aphid mummies containing parasitoid pupae, and in the parasitoid. The reduced-major-axis scaling exponents for the regression of dry mass on hind-tibia length were species-specific in aphids, reflecting differences in volume and shape between species. In mummified aphids, the stage at death influenced the size/mass relationship. In males of M. paulensis, the allometric exponent varied between parasitoids developing in different kinds of host. Individuals developing in pea aphid were absolutely larger in dry mass as well as proportionately larger relative to their hind-tibia length. We discuss the allometry of body size and body mass in relation to parasitoid fitness.