, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 275-291

Mortality by parasitization in the association between the egg-pupal parasitoid Fopius arisanus and Ceratitis capitata

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We studied the interaction betweenthe egg-pupal parasitoid Fopius (+ Biosteres) arisanus (Sonan) (+Opius oophilus Fullaway) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann)(Diptera: Tephritidae) to assess the totalimpact of the parasitoid on the survival ofthis host. We tried to discover the factorsdetermining host suitability, measure actualpercent parasitism, and quantify host mortalityby parasitization. Research was carried outapplying dechorionation treatment, anon-destructive procedure that makes hosteggshells transparent to microscopicobservation, without interfering withdevelopment. We found that percent parasitismobserved at the egg stage did not correspond tothat detectable for emerging adults. In fact,parasitized host eggs were subject to a highermortality than non-parasitized ones. Moreover,a certain percentage of the parasitoid eggs didnot develop to the adult stage. Results fromour study allowed us to measure the percentmortality by parasitization per parasitizedegg. Furthermore, we analyzed the mortalityfactors due to parasitization acting during thehost egg stage. Most of them had never beenevidenced before and may help to explain thisphenomenon. In particular, we found that theage of the host eggs exposed to parasitoidsplays a fundamental role in the mortality byparasitization and that F. arisanusparasitizes C. capitata eggs moreefficiently close to the time of eclosion.