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Keywords:

  • biocontrol;
  • parasitoid;
  • photoperiod;
  • physiology;
  • seasonality;
  • temperature

Abstract

Although maternal photoperiodic and maternal thermal effects on the progeny diapause have been demonstrated in a number of insect species, their interaction has been rarely studied. We investigated this interaction in Trichogramma telengai. In a series of experiments, maternal females were reared at day lengths of 12–18 h and at temperatures of 17, 20, 25 and 30°C. Their progeny developed under day length of 12 h and temperatures of 13, 14 and 15°C. The experiments showed that both short day and low temperature experienced by the maternal generation significantly increased the proportion of diapausing progeny. In particular, the threshold of the maternal photoperiodic response decreased with temperature. Under combinations of photoperiod with daily thermoperiod, the role of the “night” temperature in the induction of diapause in the progeny was much more important than that of the “day” temperature. We conclude that the interaction pattern between the photoperiodic and thermal maternal effects in T. telengai is generally the same as that between the photoperiodic and thermal responses directly influencing diapause induction in other long-day insects. The threshold temperature of the maternal thermal response of T. telengai was about 25–27°C, while diapause can be induced if larvae develop at temperatures not higher than 15–16°C. This suggests that, at least in the studied Trichogramma species, the maternal thermal effect has no ecological value. In the practice of biocontrol, however, rearing of Trichogramma wasps at high temperature can drastically reduce the proportion of diapausing progeny.