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Does Manipulation by the Parasitoid Wasp Cotesia glomerata (L.) Cause Attachment Behaviour of Host Caterpillars on Cocoon Clusters?


S. Tanaka, Center for Sustainability Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0809, Japan. E-mail:


Some parasitoid wasps appear to control the behaviour of their hosts. However, altered behaviours of parasitised hosts are not necessarily caused by parasitoids but are sometimes the result of traumatic side effects of parasitism. However, it was difficult for us to discriminate the cause of host’s behaviours between manipulation by parasitoids and traumatic side effects. Larvae of the parasitoid wasp Cotesia glomerata form cocoon clusters after egression from the parasitised host caterpillar Pieris brassicae. Following parasitoid egression, host caterpillars survive for several days and remain near the cocoon clusters. These caterpillars may repel solitary pteromalid hyperparasitoid wasps, Trichomalopsis apanteloctena, that attempt to parasitise fresh C. glomerata pupae. We allowed hyperparasitoids to attack cocoon clusters in the field and laboratory and then assessed the costs and benefits to C. glomerata of attachment by the parasitised caterpillars. The eclosion success of C. glomerata in cocoon clusters with attached caterpillars was higher than that in clusters without attached caterpillars in both field and laboratory experiments. This difference was attributed to shorter hyperparasitoid visits to cocoon clusters with attached host caterpillars. However, large cluster size was potentially costly for host attachment, because the duration of host caterpillar attachment decreased with increasing numbers of C. glomerata per caterpillar. This trade-off may be related to shortages of fat body resources, which are shared between the development of wasp larvae and the survival of host caterpillars. Therefore, we concluded that caterpillar attachment satisfied some requirements of host manipulation by C. glomerata.