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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Newark, Delaware » Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #378243

Research Project: Biology, Ecology, Genetics, and Genomics of Introduced Species for Biological Control of Invasive and Other Insect Pests

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit

Title: Plasticity of body growth and development in two cosmopolitan pupal parasitoids

item Wang, Xingeng
item Hogg, Brian
item BIONDI, ANTONIO - University Of Catania
item DAANE, KENT - University Of California

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/3/2021
Publication Date: 8/5/2021
Publication URL:
Citation: Wang, X., Hogg, B.N., Biondi, A., Daane, K.M. 2021. Plasticity of body growth and development in two cosmopolitan pupal parasitoids. Biological Control.

Interpretive Summary: Spotted-wing drosophila (SWD) is native to East Asia but has widely established in the Americas and Europe, becoming a devastating pest of soft-skinned fruits in its invaded regions. Both Asian native and North American resident natural enemies have been evaluated for their potential to be used as biological control agents. The two most promising resident parasitoid wasps in North America successfully attack a wide range of Drosophila species, but the parasitoids’ efficiency and the fitness of their offspring vary among host fly species. Both parasitoids benefit from attacking larger hosts by producing larger, more fit offspring. This suggests that larger fly species will be more suitable for mass-rearing these parasitoids for augmentative releases against SWD.

Technical Abstract: Pachycrepoideus vindemiae and Trichopria drosophilae are cosmopolitan pupal parasitoids of Drosophilidae that attack the invasive Drosophila suzukii. This study investigated one aspect of their phenotypic plasticity – host acceptance and offspring fitness on 25 Drosophila species in a phylogenetic framework. Each parasitoid’s key biological and ecological traits were compared among the different host species. Results demonstrate that both parasitoids successfully parasitized and developed from all tested host species. Although the parasitoids’ efficiency and offspring fitness varied among host species, effects on life-history characteristics or ecological traits appeared to be unrelated to the phylogenetic position of tested host species. Both parasitoids benefited from attacking larger hosts, with body size of emerging progeny positively correlated to host size and an increased potential fecundity (mature egg load) of female wasps. Achieving larger body size came at no significant costs in development time. The results show remarkable levels of phenotypic plasticity in the parasitoids’ body growth and development, which is discussed with respect to their potential for host range expansion.