Diapause and cold tolerance in Asian species of the parasitoid Leptopilina (Hymenoptera: Figitidae)


Correspondence: Masahito T. Kimura, Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan. Tel.: +81 11 706 2236; e-mail: mtk@ees.hokudai.ac.jp


Diapause and cold tolerance are essential for temperate insects to pass the winter, with the mechanisms controlling these two traits varying considerably among insects. In the present study, diapause and cold tolerance are compared among three Leptopilina species: Leptopilina japonica Novković & Kimura, Leptopilina victoriae Nordlander and Leptopilina ryukyuensis Novković & Kimura, all larval parasitoids of frugivorous drosophilid flies, with the aim of understanding their climatic adaptations. The first species is divided into the temperate (Leptopilina japonica japonica) and subtropical subspecies (Leptopilina japonica formosana), and the latter two species are distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions. The temperate subspecies of L. japonica enters prepupal diapause at low temperatures (15 or 18 °C), irrespective of photoperiod, and some individuals enter diapause when exposed to 0 °C for 1 or 2 day(s) or when placed at low humidity. Leptopilina victoriae also shows signs of diapause initiation at 15 °C, although L. ryukyuensis and L. j. formosana from the subtropical regions do not. Preimaginal viability at low temperature (13, 14 or 15 °C) is usually lower in L. victoriae from the tropical regions compared with L. japonica or L. ryukyuensis from the temperate or subtropical regions. Diapausing prepupae of the temperate subspecies appear to be cold tolerant. However, the cold tolerance of nondiapausing prepupae, pupae and adult females varies little among the tropical, subtropical and temperate species or subspecies, and adult males of the temperate subspecies of L. japonica are less cold tolerant than those of the tropical or subtropical species or subspecies. Cold tolerance may be unnecessary, except for diapausing individuals of the temperate species, because nondiapausing individuals appear in warmer seasons.