Document Detail

Interactions to the fifth trophic level: secondary and tertiary parasitoid wasps show extraordinary efficiency in utilizing host resources.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19175445     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
1. Parasitoid wasps are highly efficient organisms at utilizing and assimilating limited resources from their hosts. This study explores interactions over three trophic levels, from the third (primary parasitoid) to the fourth (secondary parasitoid) and terminating in the fifth (tertiary parasitoid). 2. Host utilization and adult body mass of the secondary and tertiary parasitoid Gelis agilis was determined when developing on pre-pupae of its primary parasitoid host, Cotesia glomerata, and from pre-pupae of another secondary parasitoid, Lysibia nana that had developed initially on pre-pupae of C. glomerata. 3. In both C. glomerata and G. agilis, the body mass of emerging adult parasitoids was strongly positively correlated with initial cocoon mass. For a given cocoon mass at parasitism, emerging adult G. agilis wasps were almost 90% as large as C. glomerata adults developing in healthy cocoons of comparable mass. Furthermore, G. agilis adults were still 75% as large as C. glomerata adults even when developing on L. nana that in turn had developed on C. glomerata. Otherwise, in terms of adult body mass per unit of host resources, there was no apparent difference in the quality of C. glomerata or L. nana hosts for the development of G. agilis. 4. Analyses of carbon and nitrogen in body tissues of the parasitoids over the third to the fifth trophic level revealed that percentage nitrogen was higher and carbon lower in G. agilis and L. nana than in C. glomerata. Furthermore, percentage carbon was lower in adult G. agilis wasps that had developed from L. nana than from C. glomerata. 5. We argue that the remarkable efficiency which characterizes the development of secondary and tertiary parasitoids is based on the very high nutritional quality of resources that increase in quality up the food chain and rigid selection optimizing allocation of limited host resources. Consequently, food webs involving secondary and tertiary parasitoids can go to levels hitherto unexplored thus far in empirical studies. The use of molecular markers in future studies may reveal just how long food chains involving these insects may extend.
Jeffrey A Harvey; Roel Wagenaar; T Martijn Bezemer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2009-01-13
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of animal ecology     Volume:  78     ISSN:  1365-2656     ISO Abbreviation:  J Anim Ecol     Publication Date:  2009 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-04-20     Completed Date:  2009-07-23     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376574     Medline TA:  J Anim Ecol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  686-92     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Multitrophic Interactions, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Centre for Terrestrial Ecology, PO Box 40, Heteren 6666 ZG, The Netherlands.
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MeSH Terms
Butterflies / parasitology
Feeding Behavior
Food Chain*
Host-Parasite Interactions
Larva / parasitology
Wasps / parasitology*,  physiology*

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