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Drosophila Species, Breeding in the Stinkhorn (Phallus Impudicus Pers.) and Their Larval Parasitoids

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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).

A field survey was carried out in the seasons of 1985 and 1986 in a woodland area, situated in the central western part of The Netherlands, to study the community of Drosophila breeding in the stinkhorn, Phallus impudicus, and their larval parasitoids. The fluctuations of the fungi, Drosophila, and parasitoid populations are presented. During a large part of the season the system is relatively simple, comprising one Drosophila species, D. phalerata, and one parasitoid, Leptopilina clavipes. In autumn other parasitoids become common in Ph. impudicus. Most parasitoid species are polyphagous with respect to the host species they parasitize. As a consequence of high rates of parasitism, host populations regularly pass bottlenecks within one season, especially in July when parasitism can rise up to 100%. Mean Drosophila egg to adult development lasts 25-32 days in the field and species can realize at most 4-5 generations in one season. Parasitoid development takes 40-55 days and not more than 2 generations can be completed. Temperature explains 94% of the rate of development of the egg and first two larval stages of D. phalerata. Drosophila oviposition behaviour and larval development creates patches containing suitable hosts during several successive days. Parasitoids arrive in new patches from the first day of their appearance and, in general, patches are exploited by more than one parasitoid. Some implications of these features on the behavioural ecology of the parasitoids and population dynamics are discussed.

Affiliations: 1: University of Leiden, Department of Population Biology, Division of Animal Ecology, Kaiserstraat 63, P.O. Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands


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