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Oviposition behavior and progeny allocation of the polyembryonic waspCopidosoma floridanum (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae)

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Oviposition behavior was used to determine the primary clutch size and sex ratio of the polyembryonic wasp Copidosoma floridanumAshmead (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) parasitizing Pseudoplusia includens(Walker) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). The laying of a female egg was associated with a pause in abdominal contractions during oviposition, while the laying of a male egg was associated with uninterrupted abdominal contractions. Although unmated females produced only male broods, they also displayed male and female egg oviposition movements. Wasps always laid a primary clutch of one or two eggs. For mated females if only one egg was laid, the emerging secondary clutch was all male or female, but if two eggs were laid a mixed brood of males and females was almost always produced. The secondary clutch of single sex broods was usually between 1000 and 1200 individuals, but the secondary clutch of mixed broods averaged 1143 females and 49 males. Thus, the primary sex ratio for mixed broods was 0.5 (frequency males), but the secondary sex ratio was 0.042. Manipulation of the sequence of male and female egg oviposition or of the primary clutch did not produce major alterations in the secondary clutch size or sex ratio.

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Strand, M.R. Oviposition behavior and progeny allocation of the polyembryonic waspCopidosoma floridanum (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae). J Insect Behav 2, 355–369 (1989).

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Key words

  • parasitoid
  • polyembryonic
  • clutch
  • sex ratio
  • development