Skip to main content Accessibility help

Mate choice and host discrimination behavior of the parasitoid Trichogramma chilonis

  • D. Wang (a1), L. Lü (a2), Y. He (a1), Q. Shi (a1), C. Tu (a1) and J. Gu (a1)...


Trichogramma chilonis Ishii (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) is an important natural enemy of many species of lepidopterous pests and a widely used biological control agent. Detailed knowledge about its mate choice and host discrimination behavior is lacking. In this study, we studied the mate choice and host discrimination behavior of T. chilonis in experimental arenas through video tracking. Males’ mate recognition capacity was realized by perceiving the sex pheromone of females. When offered two females of different species, male could distinguish the conspecific female from Trichogrammatoidea bactrae Nagaraja (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae), a species that has overlapping hosts with T. chilonis. When placed with two females of different mating status, male preferred mating with the virgin female to the mated female. T. chilonis females could distinguish unparasitized host eggs from parasitized ones (parasitized by conspecific females or heterospecific females). They preferred to stay on and lay eggs in unparasitized host eggs. When T. chilonis females were only provided with parasitized host eggs (parasitized by T. chilonis and T. bactrae females), conspecific superparasitism occurred more often than heterospecific superparasitism. Furthermore, the host egg discrimination ability of T. chilonis females was mainly achieved through antennal perception.


Corresponding author

*Author for Correspondence Tel: +0086-020-85283985 E-mail:


Hide All
Ardeh, M.J., de Jong, P.W. & van Lenteren, J.C. (2005) Intra- and interspecific host discrimination in arrhenotokous and thelytokous Eretmocerus spp. Biological Control 33, 7480.
Bakker, K., van Alphen, J.J.M., van Batenburg, F.H.D., van der Hoeven, N., Nell, H.W., van Strien-van Liempt, W.T.F.H. & Turlings, T.C.J. (1985) The function of host discrimination and superparasitization in parasitoids. Oecologia 67, 572576.
Ballal, C.R., Srinivasan, R. & Jalali, S.K. (2009) Evaluation of an endosulfan tolerant strain of Trichogramma chilonis on cotton. Biocontrol 54, 723732.
Bellamy, D.E. & Byrne, D.N. (2001) Effects of gender and mating status on self-directed dispersal by the whitefly parasitoid Eretmocerus eremicus . Ecological Entomology 26, 571577.
Bernal, J.S. & Luck, R.F. (2007) Mate finding via a trail sex pheromone by Aphytis melinus DeBach (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) males. Journal of Insect Behavior 20, 515525.
Boivin, G., Jacob, S. & Damiens, D. (2005) Spermatogeny as a life-history index in parasitoid wasps. Oecologia 143, 198202.
Bonduriansky, R. (2001) The evolution of male mate choice in insects: a synthesis of ideas and evidence. Biological Reviews 76, 305339.
Chang, S.C., Hu, N.T., Hsin, C.Y. & Sun, C.N. (2001) Characterization of differences between two Trichogramma wasps by molecular markers. Biological Control 21, 7578.
Damiens, D. & Boivin, G. (2005) Male reproductive strategy in Trichogramma evanescens: sperm production and allocation to females. Physiological Entomology 30, 241247.
Damiens, D. & Boivin, G. (2006) Why do sperm-depleted parasitoid males continue to mate? Behavioral Ecology 17, 138143.
Delpuech, J.M. & Delahaye, M. (2013) The sublethal effects of deltamethrin on Trichogramma behaviors during the exploitation of host patches. Science of the Total Environment 447, 274279.
Delpuech, J.M. & Leger, L. (2011) Modifications of Trichogramma behaviors during the exploitation of host patches induced by the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Ecohealth 8, 190198.
Delpuech, J.M., Gareau, E., Terrier, O. & Fouillet, P. (1998) Sublethal effects of the insecticide chlorpyrifos on the sex pheromonal communication of Trichogramma brassicae . Chemosphere 36, 17751785.
Delpuech, J.M., Dupont, C. & Allemand, R. (2010) Decrease in fecundity induced by interspecific mating between two Trichogramma parasitoid species. Journal of Economic Entomology 103, 308313.
Dupont, C., Allemand, R. & Delpuech, J.M. (2010) Induction by chlorpyrifos, of the confusion of males in discriminating female sexual pheromones used for mate finding by two sympatric Trichogramma species (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae). Environmental Entomology 39, 535544.
Fauvergue, X., Hopper, K.R. & Antolin, M.F. (1995) Mate finding via a trail sex pheromone by a parasitoid wasp. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 92, 900904.
Hassan, S.A. (1993) The mass rearing and utilization of Trichogramma to control lepidopterous pests: achievements and outlook. Pesticide Science 37, 387391.
Hopper, K.R. & Roush, R.T. (1993) Mate finding, dispersal, number released, and the success of biological control introductions. Ecological Entomology 18, 321331.
Huang, S.S., Chen, K.W. & Shen, S.P. (2002) Natural increase of parasitoids population of diamondback moth Plutella xylostella under ecological control condition. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology 13, 14491451.
Le Ralec, A. & Wajnberg, E. (1990) Sensory receptors of the ovipositor of Trichogramma maidis (Hym.: Trichogrammatidae). Entomophaga 35, 293299.
Lin, N.Q. (1994) Systematic studies of Chinese Trichogrammatidae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea). Fuzhou, Fujian, China, Fujian Science and Technology Publishing House.
Lund, H.O. (1938) Studies on longevity and productivity in Trichogramma evanescens . Journal of Agricultural Research 56, 421439.
Mackauer, M. (1990) Host discrimination and larval competition in solitary endoparasitoids. pp. 4162 in Mackauer, M., Ehler, L.E. & Roland, J. (Eds) Critical Issues in Biological Control. Andover, MA, USA, Intercept Ltd.
Martel, V. & Boivin, G. (2011) Do choice tests really test choice? Journal of Insect Behavior 24, 329336.
Martel, V., Damiens, D. & Boivin, G. (2008) Male mate choice in Trichogramma turkestanica . Journal of Insect Behavior 21, 6371.
McBrien, H. & Mackauer, M. (1991) Decision to superparasitize based on larval survival: competition between aphid parasitoids Aphidius ervi and Aphidius smithi . Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 59, 145150.
McClure, M., Whistlecraft, J. & McNeil, J.N. (2007) Courtship behavior in relation to the female sex pheromone in the parasitoid, Aphidius ervi (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology 33, 19461959.
McNeil, J.N. & Brodeur, J. (1995) Pheromone-mediated mating in the aphid parasitoid, Aphidius nigripes (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology 21, 959972.
Mills, N.J. & Kuhlmann, U. (2004) Oviposition behavior of Trichogramma platneri Nagarkatti and Trichogramma pretiosum Riley (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) in patches of single and clustered host eggs. Biological Control 30, 4251.
Miura, K., Matsuda, S. & Kobayashi, M. (1994) Discrimination between parasitized and unparasitized hosts in an egg parasitoid, Trichogramma chilonis Ishii (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae). Applied Entomology and Zoology 29, 317322.
Polak, M., Wolf, L.L., Starmer, W.T. & Barker, J.S.F. (2001) Function of the mating plug in Drosophila hibisci Bock. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 49, 196205.
Pompanon, F., de Schepper, B., Mourer, Y., Fouillet, P. & Bouletreau, M. (1997) Evidence for a substrate-borne sex pheromone in the parasitoid wasp Trichogramma brassicae . Journal of Chemical Ecology 23, 13491360.
Preetha, G., Stanley, J., Suresh, S., Kuttalam, S. & Samiyappan, R. (2009) Toxicity of selected insecticides to Trichogramma chilonis: assessing their safety in the rice ecosystem. Phytoparasitica 37, 209215.
Salt, G. (1937) The sense used by Trichogramma to distinguish between parasitized and unparasitized hosts. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, Biological Sciences 122, 5775.
Scholz, D. & Höller, C. (1992) Competition for hosts between two hyperparasitoids of aphids, Dendrocerus laticeps and Dendrocerus carpenteri (Hymenoptera: Megaspilidae): the benefit of interspecific host discrimination. Journal of Insect Behavior 5, 289300.
Simmons, L.W. & Siva-Jothy, M.T. (1998) Sperm competition in insects: mechanisms and the potential for selection. pp. 341434 in Birkhead, T.R. & Mǿller, A.P. (Eds) Sperm Competition and Sexual Selection. San Diego, Academic Press.
Smith, S.M. (1996) Biological control with Trichogramma: advances, successes and potential of their use. Annual Review of Entomology 41, 375407.
Stouthamer, R., Jochemsen, P., Platner, G.R. & Pinto, J.D. (2000) Crossing incompatibility between Trichogramma minutum and T. platneri (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae): implications for application in biological control. Environmental Entomology 29, 832837.
Suzuki, Y., Tsuji, H. & Sasakawa, M. (1984) Sex allocation and effects of superparasitism on secondary sex ratios in the gregarious parasitoid, Trichogramma chilonis (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae). Animal Behaviour 32, 478484.
Tena, A., Kapranas, A., Garcia-Marí, F. & Luck, R.F. (2008) Host discrimination, superparasitism and infanticide by a gregarious endoparasitoid. Animal Behaviour 76, 789799.
Van Baaren, J., Boivin, G. & Nénon, J.P. (1994) Intra- and interspecific host discrimination in two closely related egg parasitoids. Oecologia 100, 325330.
Van Beek, T.A., Silva, I.M.M.S., Posthumus, M.A. & Melo, R. (2005) Partial elucidation of Trichogramma putative sex pheromone at trace levels by solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry studies. Journal of Chromatography A 1067, 311321.
Vasquez, L.A., Shelton, A.M., Hoffmann, M.P. & Roush, R.T. (1997) Laboratory evaluation of commercial trichogrammatid products for potential use against Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae). Biological Control 9, 143148.
Vinson, S.B. (1998) The general host selection behavior of parasitoid Hymenoptera and a comparison of initial strategies utilized by larvaphagous and oophagous species. Biological Control 11, 7996.
Wührer, B.G. & Hassan, S.A. (1993) Selection of effective species/strains of Trichogramma (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) to control the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae). Journal of Applied Ecology 116, 8089.
Wang, D.S., He, Y.R., Guo, X.L. & Luo, Y.L. (2012) Acute toxicities and sublethal effects of some conventional insecticides on Trichogramma chilonis (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 105, 11571163.
Wang, D.S., He, Y.R., Zhang, W., Nian, X.G., Lin, T. & Zhao, R. (2014) Effects of heat stress on the quality of Trichogrammatoidea bactrae Nagaraja (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research 104, 543551.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Bulletin of Entomological Research
  • ISSN: 0007-4853
  • EISSN: 1475-2670
  • URL: /core/journals/bulletin-of-entomological-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed