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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Newark, Delaware » Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #324617

Research Project: Biological Control of Invasive Wood-Boring Insect Pests such as Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit

Title: Effects of biotic and abiotic factors on phenotypic partitioning of wing morphology and development in Sclerodermus pupariae (hymenoptera: bethylidae)

item WANG, XIAO-YI - Chinese Academy Of Forestry
item WEI, KE - Chinese Academy Of Forestry
item QI-YANG, ZHONG - Chinese Academy Of Forestry
item JENNINGS, DAVID - University Of Maryland
item Duan, Jian

Submitted to: Scientific Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/3/2016
Publication Date: 5/3/2016
Citation: Wang, X., Wei, K., Qi-Yang, Z., Jennings, D.E., Duan, J.J. 2016. Biotic and abiotic drivers of phenotypic plasticity of wing Effects of biotic and abiotic factors on phenotypic partitioning of wing morphology and development in Sclerodermus pupariae (hymenoptera: bethylidae). Scientific Reports. doi: 10.1038/srep26408.

Interpretive Summary: Emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive, destructive wood-boring beetle now found throughout much of the United States. Classical biological control can be an important tool for managing invasive species such as emerald ash borer, but information is needed to characterize the parasitic wasps capable of attacking EAB to ensure the success of biological control strategies. Some species of parasitic wasps often have variation in whether adults produce winged or wingless offspring, which can significantly affect the efficacy of biocontrol, yet little is known about the environmental factors affecting this behavior. Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Forestry, University of Maryland and USDA-ARS examined how factors such as temperature and light intensity affected the production of winged or wingless offspring in a parasitic wasp that attacks emerald ash borer. Results from the study showed that more winged offspring were produced under warmer temperatures, and with low levels of light intensity. These findings may help to enable us to enhance production and efficacy of parasitic wasps used for biological control of invasive species such as EAB.

Technical Abstract: Wing phenotype polymorphism is commonly observed in insects, yet little is known about the influence of environmental cues on the development or expression of the alternative phenotypes. Here, we examined the effects of biotic and abiotic factors including temperature, photoperiod, light intensity, maternal wing morphs, and parasitoid densities, on wing differentiation of the parasitoid Sclerodermus pupariae Yang et Yao (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae). Our results showed that percentages of winged female parasitoid progeny increased exponentially with temperature increases from 20 'C to 30 'C. Low intensity light and short-day photoperiod conditions were also significantly induced the development of winged morphs. Interestingly, wingless maternal parasitoids produced more winged progeny. Further, light intensity and maternal wing morphs showed a significant interaction on parasitoid wing dimorphism. The percentage of winged female progeny was not significantly influenced by maternal parasitoid adult densities, but increased significantly with parasitoid densities at the larval stage. However, the percentage of male progeny increased significantly with maternal parasitoid adult densities. These findings broaden our knowledge of the mechanisms driving phenotypic plasticity in insects. In addition, our observations also provide theoretic support for the enhancement of biological control by manipulation of extragenous biotic and abiotic factors to increase winged female parasitoid populations.