Interspecific competition between the braconid endoparasitoids Glyptapanteles porthetriae and Glyptapanteles liparidis in Lymantria dispar larvae
The effect of interspecific competition between the solitary endoparasitoid Glyptapanteles porthetriae Muesebeck (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and the gregarious Glyptapanteles liparidis Bouché (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), was investigated in larvae of Lymantria dispar L. (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae). Host larvae were parasitized by both wasp species simultaneously in premolt to the 2nd or the 3rd host instar or in an additional approach with a 4‐day delay in parasitization by the second wasp species. Host acceptance experiments revealed that both wasp species do not discriminate between unparasitized host larvae and larvae parasitized previously by the same or the other species. In more than 90% female wasps parasitized the larva they encountered first. During the period of endoparasitic development, larvae of the competing parasitoid species never attacked the egg stage of the other species. When host larvae were parasitized simultaneously by both wasp species, the rate of successful development of both species depended on the age of the host larva at the time of its parasitization; G. liparidis emerged successfully from 44% of host larvae parasitized during the premolt to 2nd instar, G. porthetriae from 28%, and in 20% of the hosts both parasitoid species were able to develop in one gypsy moth larva. However, when host larvae were parasitized simultaneously during premolt to the 3rd instar, G. liparidis was successful in 90% of the hosts, compared to 8% from which only G. porthetriae emerged. In the experiments with delayed oviposition, generally the species that oviposited first succeeded in completing its larval development. Larvae of the species ovipositing with four days delay were frequently attacked and killed by larvae of the first parasitizing species or suffered reduced growth. As the secondary parasitoid species, G. porthetriae‐larvae were never able to complete their development, whereas G. liparidis developed successfully in at least 12,5% of the multiparasitized host larvae. Thus, multiparasitism of gypsy moth larvae by both Glyptapanteles species corresponds to the contest type; however, G. porthetriae is only able to develop successfully as the primary parasitoid of young host larvae.
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