Host range of Asobara japonica (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a larval parasitoid of drosophilid flies

Authors


Masahito T. Kimura, Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0810 Japan. Email: mtk@ees.hokudai.ac.jp

Abstract

We studied the host range of Asobara japonica, a larval-pupal parasitoid of drosophilid flies. Habitat selection was found to be an important determinant of host range in this parasitoid; it attacked drosophilid larvae breeding on banana and mushrooms, but seldom attacked those breeding on decayed leaves. This parasitoid was able to use diverse drosophilid taxa as hosts. Attack by A. japonica sometimes killed hosts at the larval stage, and therefore parasitoid larvae also died. Drosophila elegans and D. busckii suffered particularly high larval mortality due to the attack by A. japonica (in the latter species only when young larvae were attacked). Many individuals of D. subpulchrella also died at the pupal stage without producing parasitoids when they were parasitized at the late larval stage. In contrast, D. bipectinata, D. ficusphila, D. immigrans, D. formosana and D. albomicans were resistant to attack: large proportions of the larvae of these drosophilid species grew to adulthood, even in the presence of parasitoids. On the basis of phylogenetic information, we concluded that phylogenetic position has only limited importance as a factor determining whether a species is suitable as a host for A. japonica, at least within the genus Drosophila.

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