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A Functional Approach To Superparasitism: Host Discrimination Needs Not Be Learnt by

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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).

In contrast to earlier claims we show in this paper that insect parasitoids are able to recognize parasitized hosts before they have oviposited in unparasitized hosts, and hence, that host discrimination needs not be learnt. We show this by presenting experiments with two strains of Leptopilina heterotoma and with Trichogramma evanescens, and by reanalysis of the data sets on which the learning hypothesis was based. We discuss the functional reasons for superparasitism by both inexperienced and experienced parasitoids and suggest how to proceed with research on the causation of superparasitism.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Population Biology, Zoological Laboratory, University of Leiden, P.O. Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands; 2: C.A.B. International Institute of Biol. Control, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berksh. SL5 7PY, U.K.


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