Size-induced reproductive constraints in an egg parasitoid.

Boivin, G. and Martel, V. (2012). "Size-induced reproductive constraints in an egg parasitoid.", Journal of Insect Physiology, 58(12), pp. 1694-1700. doi : 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2012.10.014  Access to full text


The size of adult parasitoids is influenced by the quantity and quality of resources available during immature development. Gregarious development of endoparasitoids results in scramble competition where the resources are shared among individuals developing into the same host. Individuals that developed gregariously are therefore smaller and that reduced size generally translates into lower fitness due to reductions in several life history traits including longevity, mobility and traits linked to reproduction. We measured the reproductive constraints induced by size in Anaphes listronoti (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae), a facultative gregarious egg parasitoid of Curculionidae. Size decreased with number of immatures developing in a host egg for both male and female A. listronoti. This reduction in size induced a reproductive cost as both males and females produced fewer gametes when developing gregariously. Contrarily to other egg parasitoids, A. listronoti males are not prospermatogenic and produced some sperm during their adult life. Their spermatogeny index is estimated at 0.6-0.7 that places this species as moderately synspermatogenic. Female A. listronoti have an ovigeny index of 0.70 and are therefore moderately synovigenic. Large females that developed singly received a full sperm complement only when mated by a large male that also developed singly. When mating with a small triplet male, a large female received less than half her sperm complement. Large males were able to mate three females before the number of sperm transferred started to decrease.

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