Mating or ovipositing? A crucial decision in the life history of the cabbage aphid parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae (M’Intosh)
Article first published online: 25 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Ecological Entomology © 2012 The Royal Entomological Society
Volume 37, Issue 3, pages 169–174, June 2012
How to Cite
KANT, R., MINOR, M. and TREWICK, S. (2012), Mating or ovipositing? A crucial decision in the life history of the cabbage aphid parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae (M’Intosh). Ecological Entomology, 37: 169–174. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2012.01347.x
- Issue published online: 25 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 25 MAY 2012
- Accepted 20 February 2012
- reproductive fitness;
- sex ratio;
1. The reproductive fitness of a parasitoid depends on its mating and ovipositing success. Virgin haplodiploid females can reproduce, but produce only males, and may diminish fitness by producing more male offspring than required. Therefore, females must decide on whether to mate or oviposit first.
2. This study was conducted to assess the mating versus ovipositing decision and its impact on the reproductive fitness of Diaeretiella rapae (Hymenoptera: Aphididae), an endoparasitoid of the cabbage aphid Brevicoryne brassicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae).
3. When newly emerged females were given a choice between mating and ovipositing, about 62% of D. rapae females preferred to mate before ovipositing. Those females who oviposited before mating parasitised only 10% of the available aphids. After mating, females superparasitised their hosts with fertilised eggs, which resulted in a highly female-biased sex ratio in the offspring.
4. Mating success was very high (91%) in the presence of hosts (cabbage aphid nymphs) compared with that in the absence of aphids. However, mating success was not influenced by the quality (size) of the hosts present in the mating arena, despite a parasitoid preference for larger hosts during oviposition. The time between pairing and mating was also shorter in the presence of host aphids. The mean number of aphids parasitised and the parasitism rate were significantly greater after mating.