Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 311–320 | Cite as

Host selection byBlepharipa pratensis (Meigen), a tachinid parasite of the gypsy moth,Lymantria dispar L.

  • Thomas M. Odell
  • Paul A. Godwin


The host selection process ofBlepharipa pratensis (Meigen), a tachinid parasite of the gypsy moth,Lymantria dispar L., was investigated. Once in the host's habitat, and following contact with a recently damaged leaf edge (cut, torn, eaten), the fly orients perpendicular to the edge and moves back and forth with the front tarsi grasping the damaged edge. Oviposturing (oviposition intention) may occur. Leaf exudates appear to arrest the fly on the leaf and increase tarsal examination (searching). If an edge of a gypsy moth-eaten leaf is contacted, oviposition usually occurs. Significantly more eggs are laid when host-browsed foliage is encountered, compared to mechanically cut or damaged foliage, indicating response to a cue left by the host during feeding. The number of host-damaged leaf clusters in an area significantly enhances oviposition there; in field-cage tests, significantly more eggs (7911) were laid in simulated-crown areas with all clusters browsed, compared to the adjacent areas containing 1/2 browsed (4200 eggs) and undamaged clusters (2209 eggs). A host selection sequence is suggested and discussed.

Key words

Gypsy moth Lymantria dispar Lepidoptera Lymantriidae Blepharipa pratensis Diptera Tachinidae host selection contact chemical parasite behavior 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas M. Odell
    • 1
  • Paul A. Godwin
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Biological Control of Northeastern Forest Insects and DiseasesUSDA, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment StationHamden

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