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Type: Journal article
Title: A comparison of the host-searching efficiency of two larval parasitoids of Plutella xylostella
Author: Wang, X.
Keller, M.
Citation: Ecological Entomology, 2002; 27(1):105-114
Publisher: Blackwell Science Ltd
Issue Date: 2002
ISSN: 0307-6946
Statement of
Xin-Geng Wang and Michael A Keller
Abstract: 1. A host specialist parasitoid is thought to have greater efficiency in locating hosts or greater ability to overcome host defence than a generalist species. This leads to the prediction that a specialist should locate and parasitise more hosts than a generalist in a given arena. The work reported here tested these predictions by comparing the host-searching behaviour of Diadegma semiclausum (a specialist) and Cotesia plutellae (an oligophagous species), two parasitoids of larval Plutella xylostella. 2. Both parasitoids employed antennal search and ovipositor search when seeking hosts but D. semiclausum also seemed to use visual perception in the immediate vicinity of hosts. 3. Larvae of P. xylostella avoided detection by parasitoids by moving away from damaged plant parts after short feeding bouts. When they encountered parasitoids, the larvae wriggled vigorously as they retreated and often hung from silk threads after dropping from a plant. 4. These two parasitoids differed in their responses to host defences. Diadegma semiclausum displayed a wide-area search around feeding damage and waited near the silk thread for a suspended host to climb up to the leaf, then attacked it again. Cotesia plutellae displayed an area-restricted search and usually pursued the host down the silk thread onto the ground. 5. Diadegma semiclausum showed a relatively ®xed behavioural pattern leading to oviposition but C. plutellae exhibited a more plastic behavioural pattern. 6. The time spent by the two parasitoids on different plants increased with increasing host density, but the time spent either on all plants or a single plant by D. semiclausum was longer than that of C. plutellae. Diadegma semiclausum visited individual plants more frequently than C. plutellae before it left the patch, and stung hosts at more than twice the rate of C. plutellae. 7. The results indicated that the host-location strategies employed by D. semiclausum were adapted better to the host's defensive behaviour, and thus it was more effective at detecting and parasitising the host than was C. plutellae.
Keywords: Cotesia plutellae, Diadegma semiclausum, foraging behaviour, host searching, parasitoids, patch time allocation, Plutella xylostella.
Description: The definitive version is available at
RMID: 0020020014
DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2311.2002.0374a.x
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications

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