Submitted to: Biocontrol
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/14/2006
Publication Date: 2/16/2007
Citation: Riddick, E.W. 2007. Influence of honey and maternal age on egg load of lab-cultured Cotesia marginiventris. BioControl. 52(5):613-618.
Interpretive Summary: The parasitic wasp Cotesia marginiventris is an important natural enemy of beet armyworms and other caterpillars that attack crops. Efficient mass rearing techniques are needed to produce large numbers of wasps for release in the greenhouse or field. An experiment was conducted to determine whether feeding honey to young Cotesia marginiventris females would increase their egg production. Honey-fed females produced about 12% more eggs than starved females. This research is important for maximizing the number of natural enemies produced in mass rearing systems.
Technical Abstract: Abstract Laboratory experiments were conducted to determine the impact of feeding status and maternal age on egg load of Cotesia marginiventris (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a solitary, koinobiont endoparasitoid of noctuid pests. Egg load was defined as the number of mature (i. e., fully-chorionated) eggs found in the ovaries and oviducts. Significantly more mature eggs were stored in honey-fed than starved females. For honey-fed females, egg load increased within several days of isolation from hosts. This study suggests that C. marginiventris is, in fact, pro-synovigenic because females emerge with a large quantity of mature eggs and are capable of maturing additional eggs, even before oviposition ensues. Feeding on a suitable source of carbohydrate should maximize the egg load (i. e., potential fecundity) of this insect within 3-4 days in an in vivo rearing system.