Host stage selection of the mealybug parasitoid Anagyrus spec. nov near sinope

Authors

  • Juang-Horng Chong,

    Corresponding author
      *Correspondence and present address: Juang-Horng Chong, University of Florida and USDA-APHIS, Subtropical Horticulture Research Station, 13601 Old Cutler Road, Miami, FL 30158, USA. E-mail: jhchong@ufl.edu
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  • Ronald D. Oetting

    1. Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Griffin Campus, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797, USA
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*Correspondence and present address: Juang-Horng Chong, University of Florida and USDA-APHIS, Subtropical Horticulture Research Station, 13601 Old Cutler Road, Miami, FL 30158, USA. E-mail: jhchong@ufl.edu

Abstract

The mealybug parasitoid Anagyrus spec. nov near sinope (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) is an undescribed parasitoid of the Madeira mealybug, Phenacoccus madeirensis Green (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae). We investigated the preference of Anagyrus spec. nov near sinope for six developmental stadia (first- and second-instar nymphs, third-instar immature females, third- or fourth-instar immature males, pre-reproductive adult females, and ovipositing adult females) of P. madeirensis and the fitness consequences of the host stage selection behavior. In the no-choice test, Anagyrus spec. nov near sinope parasitized and completed development in all host stadia except third-instar immature males. When all host stadia were offered simultaneously, the parasitoids preferred third-instar immature and pre-reproductive adult females. Dissection of the stung mealybugs revealed that the clutch size (number of eggs per host) was approximately four and three in the third-instar and pre-reproductive females, respectively, and one egg per first-instar nymph. Parasitoids emerged from P. madeirensis parasitized at third-instar or pre-reproductive adult female completed development in the shortest duration, achieved a higher progeny survival rate, larger brood and body size, and the lowest proportion of males. We showed that the continued development of mealybugs had significant influence on the fitness of the parasitoids. Although deposited as eggs in first- or second-instar nymphs, parasitoids emerged from mummies that had attained third-instar or adult development achieved similar progeny survival rate, brood size, body size, and sex ratio as those parasitoids deposited and developed in third-instar or adult mealybugs. By delaying larval development in young mealybugs, Anagyrus spec. nov near sinope achieved higher fitness by allowing the parasitized mealybugs to grow and accumulate body size and resources. We suggest that the fitness consequence of host stage selection of a koinobiont parasitoid should be evaluated on both the time of parasitism and the time of mummification.

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