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Host Quality Effects On Sex Ratio of the Parasitic Wasp Anisopteromalus Calandrae (Chalcidoidea, Pteromalidae)

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

The pteromalid wasp Anisopteromalus calandrae (Howard) is a parasite of larval instars of several species of beetles. In our experiments we used larvae of the granary weevil (Sitophilus granarius L.) as hosts. Host size may differ considerably, older larvae being much larger than younger ones. Fitness of the wasps' offspring depends on host size but differences between small and large sons are probably less than between small and large daughters. A number of experiments were carried out to investigate the effect of host quality on sex ratio. Evidence was found for the hypothesis that in Anisopteromalus offspring sex-ratio depends on clutch size. On large hosts (better quality) the proportion of sons is small, on young hosts (lower quality) the proportion of sons is high but these differences are due to large numbers of female-eggs being deposited on old hosts, and far fewer on young hosts, per laying period of 24 hrs. On both categories the number of sons produced per laying period is about similar. In the course of time (i.e. with decreasing life expectancy) the initial difference between treatments disappears almost completely (i.e. more and more, sub-optimal, daughters are produced on young hosts). Evidence for a memory factor was obtained with experiments in which we offered different host sizes, either successively or simultaneously. A simple model is proposed to describe the succession of sex-ratio decisions made under different conditions of host quality. Results are compared with those obtained earlier with Lariophagus, another pteromalid parasite of granary weevils, which is supposed to change sex ratio independent of clutch size.

Affiliations: 1: Zoological Laboratory, Div. of Ethology, University of Leiden, P. O. Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands


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