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J Insect Physiol. 2009 Apr;55(4):321-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2008.12.009. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

Transient host paralysis as a means of reducing self-superparasitism in koinobiont endoparasitoids.

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Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota, 1980 Folwell Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA.


The term 'idiobiont' refers to those parasitoid species that permanently paralyse their hosts during parasitism, causing the cessation of host growth and development. This is in contrast to koinobiont parasitoids, which allow their hosts to continue developing after being parasitized. While no koinobiont species induce permanent paralysis in their hosts, a minority of koinobionts induce a temporary paralysis that does not interfere with overall host growth and development. We characterized transient paralysis induction in two koinobiont aphid parasitoids in the genus Binodoxys (Hymenoptera: Aphidiinae). Both Binodoxys species induced transient paralysis in Aphis glycines, with paralysis time ranging between 4.5 and 8 min (depending upon parasitoid species and host instar). In a separate experiment, B. communis was capable of inducing transient paralysis in nine aphid species. We addressed two hypotheses potentially explaining the adaptive value of temporary host paralysis in experiments using A. nerii, which is readily accepted but engages in strong defensive behaviour. The first hypothesis is that paralysis increases oviposition success by interfering with host defences and the second is that it aids in the avoidance of self-superparasitism. Paralysed aphids were more likely to be rejected by B. communis than were aphids that had never been stung or that had recovered from paralysis. This result supports the avoidance-of-self-superparasitism hypothesis and is inconsistent with the hypothesis that transient paralysis increases oviposition success of B. communis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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