Niche modification and stability of competitive systems. II. Persistence of interspecific competitive systems with parasitoid wasps
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Effects of niche shift in ecological time scale on the population dynamics of competing species were studied in the experimental populations of two parasitoid wasp species,Anisopteromalus calandrae andHeterospilus prosopidis (both are solitary parasites), on a host, the azuki bean weevil,Callosobruchus chinensis. Four resource conditions were set up with combination of kind of bean (azuki or black eye), and host distribution (uniform or clumped). In each resource condition, four developmental stages of hosts were provided as a resource spectrum for parasitoid wasps.
Population dynamics of the two wasp populations were investigated in each resource condition in Multi-Generation Competitive Systems (MGCS), in which fresh hosts of four developmental stages were periodically introduced and were parasitized competitively by the two wasp species. Competitive coexistence of both wasps occurred in the azuki-clumped condition, where the peaks of the resource utilization curves separated in the two species; pupae inA. calandrae and the early or late fourth instar inH. prosopidis, A. calandrae was eliminated in the azuki-uniform condition andH. prosopidis went extinct in two black eye conditions irrespective of host distributions. The degrees of overlap of the resource utilization patterns of the two wasp species during population dynamics were not significantly different among resource conditions irrespective of the results of coexistence or extinction. Even in the azuki-clumped condition, however, extinction ofA. calandrae was observed when resource partitioning could not be realized with only the late fourth instar larvae available to wasps. Further analytical experiments showed that parasitizing ability ofA. calandrae increased with host density per bean with azuki beans, butA. calandrae could express higher parasitizing ability with black eye beans thanH. prosopidis irrespective of host density per bean.
The flexibility in parasitizing ability byA. calandrae for various host stages under different resource conditions was thought to be the major factor in determining the competitive coexistence or the extinction of either species under different resource conditions. The present experiments also suggested that different second-best host stages between competitors could be a major contributing factor to competitive coexistence.
KeywordsResource Condition Host Density Fourth Instar Parasitoid Wasp Azuki Bean
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