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Mutual interference reduces offspring production in a brood- guarding bethylid wasp

Screenivas, A.G.; Hardy, Ian C.W.

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A.G. Screenivas

Ian C.W. Hardy


Parasitoids have the potential to suppress populations of their hosts and thus may play an 2 important role in influencing the temporal and spatial dynamics of pest arthropods. 3 Behavioural interactions between foraging females, collectively constituting ‘mutual 4 interference’, can reduce host suppression. We use laboratory microcosms to assess the 5 prevalence and consequences of mutual interference behaviour in a bethylid wasp, Goniozus 6 nephantidis (Muesebeck) (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae), which is known to brood guard and to 7 engage in agonistic contests for individual hosts and which is also an agent of biological pest 8 control. We hold host and parasitoid numbers constant and vary the degree of female-female 9 contact that can occur. Mutual interference is manifest in a considerable reduction in the 10 number of offspring produced when females are not fully isolated from each other, due to 11 effects operating at the early stages of offspring production. This mutual interference may 12 contribute towards the limited degree of host population suppression achieved when some 13 species of bethylids are deployed as agents of biological pest control and also has clear 14 potential to influence the efficiency of mass rearing of parasitoids prior to field release.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 16, 2015
Online Publication Date Mar 17, 2016
Publication Date May 1, 2016
Deposit Date Feb 15, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 17, 2016
Journal Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Print ISSN 0013-8703
Electronic ISSN 1570-7458
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 159
Issue 2
Pages 260-269
Keywords parasitoid, laboratory microcosm, female offspring production, mass rearing, Goniozus nephantidis, Hymenoptera, Bethylidae
Public URL
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Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Sreenivas, A.G. and Hardy, I. C.W. (2016), Mutual interference reduces offspring production in a brood-guarding bethylid wasp. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 159: 260–269, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


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