International Journal of Tropical Insect Science

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 168–175 | Cite as

The effect of host larvae on three Psyttalia species (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), parasitoids of fruit-infesting flies (Diptera: Tephritidae)

  • M. K. Billah
  • S. Kimani-Njogu
  • W. A. Overholt
  • R. A. Wharton
  • D. D. Wilson
  • M. A. Cobblah


Three species of fruit fly parasitoids, Psyttalia concolor (Szépligeti), Psyttalia cosyrae (Wilkinson) and Psyttalia lounsburyi (Silvestri) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) were reared on different host larvae to determine the effects of host species, size and colour on parasitoid development. Ovipositor, ovipositor sheath and hind tibia lengths were found to be different for progenies from preferred and non-preferred host larvae. Ratios of ovipositor-tibia and ovipositor sheath-tibia showed no difference when P. concolor was reared on a bigger host (Ceratitis cosyra (Walker) (Diptera: Tephritidae), whereas rearing P. cosyrae on a smaller host (C. capitata (Wiedemann) showed significant differences. Comparison of the linear measurements, ratios and number of flagellomeres of parasitoids reared on preferred hosts, separated the species into their natural groupings. When reared on a different-coloured host, P. lounsburyi lost its dark markings but other characters remained unchanged. Morphometric analysis also indicated differences between parasitoids reared on preferred host larvae and those reared on non-preferred host larvae. Rearing parasitoids on larvae other than their preferred hosts resulted in colour and size changes, and thus, these characters alone were not reliable for the identification of parasitoids. This is especially important in post-release sampling surveys to ascertain establishment of the parasitoids in new environments where they may adapt to new host species.

Key words

Psyttalia Ceratitis parasitoids fruit flies host larvae flagellomeres 


Trois espèces de parasitoïdes, Psyttalia concolor (Szépligeti), Psyttalia cosyrae (Wilkinson) et Psyttalia lounsburyi (Silvestri) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) de mouche des fruits ont été élevées sur différents hôtes larvaires afin de déterminer l’incidence des espèces d’hôtes, leur taille et couleur, sur le développement des parasitoïdes. La longueur des ovipositeurs, des étuis d’ovipositeur et des tibias postérieurs des descendants est différente selon qu’ils ont été élevés sur des hôtes préférés ou non préférés. Les rapports ovipositeur-tibia et étui d’ovipositeur-tibia de P. concolor ne sont pas modifiés sur le plus gros hôte (Ceratitis cosyra (Walker) (Diptera: Tephritidae)), alors que ceux de P. cosyrae sont significativement differénts sur le plus petit hôte (C. capitata (Wiedemann)). La comparaison des longueurs, des ratios et du nombre de flagellomères des parasitoïdes élevés sur leurs hôtes préférés permet de les séparer facilement. Par contre, lorsque P. lounsburyi est élevé sur un hôte de couleur différente, il perd ses tâches noires mais garde les autres caractères inchangés. Une analyse morphométrique indique également des différences entre les parasitoïdes élevés sur des hôtes préférés ou non préférés. Nos résultats montrent que l’élevage des parasitoïdes sur des larves non préférées induit des changements de couleur et de taille, et que ces caractères seuls ne sont pas fiables pour l’identification des espèces. Cela apparaît particulièrement important dans le cadre d’enquêtes réalisées après des lâchers afin d’évaluer l’établissement des parasitoïdes dans de nouveaux environnements lorsqu’ils doivent s’adapter à de nouveaux hôtes.

Mots clés

Psyttalia Ceratitis parasitoïdes mouche des fruits hôte larvaire flagellomères 


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. K. Billah
    • 1
    • 5
  • S. Kimani-Njogu
    • 2
  • W. A. Overholt
    • 3
  • R. A. Wharton
    • 4
  • D. D. Wilson
    • 5
  • M. A. Cobblah
    • 5
  1. 1.International Centre of Insect Physiology and EcologyNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Species 2000 ProjectUniversity of ReadingUK
  3. 3.Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of FloridaUSA
  4. 4.Department of EntomologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  5. 5.Department of ZoologyUniversity of GhanaLegon-AccraGhana

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