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Where you come from matters: temperature influences host–parasitoid interaction through parental effects

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Temperature alters host suitability for parasitoid development through direct and indirect pathways. Direct effects depend on ambient temperatures experienced by a single host individual during its lifetime. Indirect effects (or parental effects) occur when thermal conditions met by a host parental generation affect the way its offspring will interact with parasitoids. Using the complex involving eggs of the moth Lobesia botrana as hosts for the parasitoid Trichogramma cacoeciae, we developed an experimental design to disentangle the effects of (1) host parental temperature (temperature at which the host parental generation developed and laid host eggs) and (2) host offspring temperature (temperature at which host eggs were incubated following parasitism, i.e. direct thermal effects) on this interaction. The host parental generation was impacted by temperature experienced during its development: L. botrana females exposed to warmer conditions displayed a lower pupal mass but laid more host eggs over a 12-h period. Host parental temperature also affected the outcomes of the interaction. Trichogramma cacoeciae exhibited lower emergence rates but higher hind tibia length on emergence from eggs laid under warm conditions, even if they were themselves exposed to cooler temperatures. Such indirect thermal effects might arise from a low nutritional quality and/or a high immunity of host eggs laid in warm conditions. By contrast with host parental temperature, offspring temperature (direct thermal effects) did not significantly affect the outcomes of the interaction. This work emphasises the importance of accounting for parental thermal effects to predict the future of trophic dynamics under global warming scenarios.

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We are grateful to thank Géraldine Groussier for providing the parasitoid strains used in the experiments, Sébastien Zito and Benjamin Bois for providing the climatic data. We acknowledge the valuable contribution of Alexandre Bauer, Aude Balourdet, Hugo Baali, Léa Bariod and Martin Pêcheur during the experiments. We would also like to thank the handling editor George Heimpel and the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and helpful suggestions on the manuscript. This work was supported by the Conseil Régional de Bourgogne Franche-Comté through the Plan d’Actions Régional pour l’Innovation (PARI) and two other funding sources (FABER LOUAPRE-AGREE-BGS and VALEACLIM-BOIS), and the European Union through the PO FEDER-FSE Bourgogne 2014/2020 programs.

Author information

All authors conceived and designed the experiments. CI and CM: performed the experiments; CI, CM and PL: analysed the data; CI, PL and JM: led the writing of the manuscript. All authors critically revised the intellectual content of the draft and gave their approbation for the final version to be published.

Correspondence to Corentin Iltis.

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The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

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All applicable institutional and/or national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

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Communicated by George Heimpel.

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Iltis, C., Moreau, J., Manière, C. et al. Where you come from matters: temperature influences host–parasitoid interaction through parental effects. Oecologia (2020).

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  • Host eggs
  • Oophagous parasitoid
  • Parental effects
  • Temperature
  • Trophic dynamics