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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)...

Abstract

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.

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*Author for Correspondence Tel: +0086-020-85283985 E-mail: yrhe@scau.edu.cn

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