Could hosts considered as low quality for egg-laying be considered as high quality for host-feeding?

Abstract : When parasitoid females encounter a host, they can either lay an egg and thus invest in current reproduction or feed on the host and thus invest in future reproduction. However, hosts could have different values according to their parasitized status. Whereas already parasitized hosts represent poor quality for egg-laying, they could have a high nutritive value for feeding. Moreover, the optimal strategy adopted generally depends on the females' physiological state. In this study, the impact of the females' physiological state on their reproductive strategies was investigated in the solitary parasitoid Anisopteromalus calandrae.We analysed how their age and diet influenced (i) the use of hosts (feeding vs. oviposition) and (ii) host selection (previously parasitized vs. unparasitized). Our results show that both age and diet influence the reproductive strategy of A. calandrae females: old females fed with the poorer diet laid fewer eggs and made more host-feeding than others. Females also showed a preference for already parasitized hosts for feeding. This strategy cannot be explained by the nutritive value of haemolymph, as parasitized hosts carry fewer lipids. However, as parasitized hosts are also paralyzed, it could be less costly to feed on them than on unparasitized hosts.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - 3:18:32 PM
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Sébastien Lebreton, Éric Darrouzet, Claude Chevrier. Could hosts considered as low quality for egg-laying be considered as high quality for host-feeding?. Journal of Insect Physiology, Elsevier, 2009, 55, pp.694-699. ⟨10.1016/j.jinsphys.2009.04.017⟩. ⟨hal-00412377⟩

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