Effects of floral resources on fitness of the parasitoids Trichogramma exiguum (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) and Cotesia congregata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)

Biological Control (Impact Factor: 1.92). 11/2008; 47(2):180-186. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2008.07.013

ABSTRACT This study was conducted to determine if floral resources enhanced longevity and fecundity of the egg parasitoid Trichogramma exiguum Pinto & Platner and longevity of the larval parasitoid Cotesia congregata (Say). Newly eclosed (⩽12 h) female wasps were provisioned with fennel (Foeniculum vulgare P. Mill.) or buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) flowers or one of two controls: honey or water. Wasps were monitored daily until all had died. Daily egg production by T. exiguum was monitored using Ephestia kuehniella Keller egg cards. Longevity of both T. exiguum (6.7 d) and C. congregata (5.1 d) provided buckwheat flowers was increased approximately 8.5-fold compared with wasps provided only water. Buckwheat-provisioned T. exiguum exhibited 2-fold greater longevity than those provided fennel. Longevity of C. congregata provisioned with fennel and honey was not statistically different. Water-provisioned T. exiguum and C. congregata exhibited the shortest longevity (0.8 and 0.6 d, respectively). Total fecundity was 6.3-fold greater in T. exiguum provisioned with buckwheat and 2.3-fold greater in T. exiguum provisioned with fennel than in water controls. Average female to male ratio of progeny over the lifetime of each female was significantly greatest in T. exiguum provisioned with water alone, likely because of sperm depletion in wasps exhibiting greater longevity. Total mean number of female offspring produced was significantly greatest in T. exiguum provided honey or buckwheat flowers although no difference in total female offspring were observed between adults provisioned with buckwheat or fennel flowers. Our results show that provisioning T. exiguum with honey and buckwheat flowers resulted in greater longevity, total fecundity, and lifetime production of female offspring than water alone. Buckwheat flowers also lead to greater longevity in C. congregata.

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