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Effects of host plant species on the interaction between the parasitic wasp Diospilus capito and pollen beetles (Meligethes spp.)

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1 Field studies were conducted in central Sweden to establish whether two host plants with high and low suitability for pollen beetles (Meligethes aeneus Fabr. [Coleoptera: Nitidulidae] and Meligethes viridescens Fabr.) affected the parasitoid Diospilus capito Nees [Hymenoptera: Braconidae].

2 Samples of larvae were taken from fields with plots of white mustard, Sinapis alba L. and spring rape, Brassica napus L. in 1997 and 1998. Levels of parasitism and the survival and size of D. capito were measured to determine any influence of the host plant species. Survival and weights of pollen beetles from S. alba and B. napus were also measured.

3 Levels of parasitism between 8% and 29% were recorded. There was a significantly higher likelihood of being parasitized by D. capito for beetle larvae developing on S. alba than on B. napus. We argue that semiochemical or morphological properties of plant species could be responsible for differential parasitism by D. capito.

4 Neither survival of D. capito nor parasitoid size differed from hosts developing on S. alba or B. napus. Pollen beetle emergence was the same for both plant species, but beetles that developed on S. alba weighed less than those from B. napus. Results suggest that the partial resistance of S. alba to the pollen beetle will have no negative effects on the parasitoid D. capito.
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Keywords: Brassica napus; Diospilus capito; Meligethes spp; Sinapis alba; tri-trophic interactions

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Entomology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 7044, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: May 1, 2001

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