The influence of parthenogenesis-inducing Wolbachia on the oviposition behaviour and sex-specific developmental requirements of autoparasitoid wasps

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29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Parthenogenesis-inducing (PI) Wolbachia are bacteria that cause incipient male eggs of parasitoid wasps to develop as females. These microbes may invade populations and lead to fixation of parthenogenesis. In this study, the consequences of fixation of PI Wolbachia on evolution of behaviour and development were addressed in three species of whitefly parasitoids in the genus Encarsia. Most sexual Encarsia are obligate autoparasitoids. In these haplodiploid wasps, fertilized, female-producing eggs are laid in whitefly or scale insect nymphs, while unfertilized, male-producing eggs are laid in immature parasitoids within the homopteran integument. The oviposition behaviour and progeny developmental requirements of unmated females of a sexual autoparasitoid species were compared with two species that were fixed for PI Wolbachia. All species were treated with antibiotics, effectively 'curing' the asexual species of Wolbachia infection. As expected, unmated females of the sexual species, E. pergandiella, laid few eggs in whiteflies relative to immature parasitoids, and males emerged exclusively from parasitoids. In contrast, females of one of the parthenogenetic species, E. formosa, laid few eggs in parasitoids relative to whiteflies, and male progeny emerged exclusively from whiteflies. Females of the second parthenogenetic species, E. hispida, were intermediate in their oviposition behaviour. Females laid eggs in both wasps and whiteflies. However, all of the males except one emerged from the whiteflies. The results suggest that the association of autoparasitoids and PI Wolbachia may result in dramatic evolutionary change of both host selection behaviour and developmental requirements of the infected wasps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-741
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1999

Keywords

  • Encarsia formosa
  • Encarsia meritoria
  • Encarsia pergandiella
  • Heteronomous hyperparasitoid
  • Hyperparasitism
  • Parasitoid
  • Reproductive parasites
  • Thelytoky

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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