, Volume 107, Issue 1, pp 71–78

Host choice and fitness correlates for conopid flies parasitising bumblebees

Population Ecology

DOI: 10.1007/BF00582236

Cite this article as:
Schmid-Hempel, R. & Schmid-Hempel, P. Oecologia (1996) 107: 71. doi:10.1007/BF00582236


Two parasitoid flies,Physocephala rufipes andSicus ferrugineus (Diptera, Conopidae), and their hosts,Bombus spp., coexist at various locations in northwestern Switzerland. A detailed field study showed that both conopid species use the hostB. pascuorum to a similar degree, while the hostB. terr-luc (a pooled category ofB. terrestris andB. lucorum) is more frequently parasitised than expected byS. ferrugineus. The hostB. lapidarius in turn is exclusively used byP. rufipes. Furthermore, hosts ofB. terr-luc andB. pascuorum parasitised byS. ferrugineus were larger than hosts parasitised byP. rufipes, or than those not parasitised. The findings suggest thatS. ferrugineus selects larger hosts and may displaceP. rufipes. Pupal weight, a predictor of adult body size and parasitoid fecundity, is positively correlated with host size and larger pupae are more likely to emerge, while host species had no effect on the probability of emergence in either conopid species. Host species affected pupal weight inS. ferrugineus, but not inP. rufipes, althoughP. rufipes grew larger in hosts of a given size. Daughters emerged from larger pupae than males, but this did not correlate with larger host sizes. These observations add to the scarce knowledge of dipteran parasitoids.

Key words

Host utilisation Host size Fitness Parasitoids Diptera: Conopidae 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Experimental Ecology ETH-Zentrum, NWETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Zoologisches Institut der UniversitätBaselSwitzerland

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