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Behav Processes. 2013 Oct;99:81-6. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2013.06.003. Epub 2013 Jun 17.

Bodyguard manipulation in a multipredator context: different processes, same effect.

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MIVEGEC, UMR (IRD/CNRS/UM) 5290, Centre IRD, 911 Av. Agropolis, B.P. 64501, 34394 Montpellier Cedex 5, France; Institut de recherche en biologie végétale, Université de Montréal, 4101 rue Sherbrooke est, Montréal, Québec H1X 2B2, Canada. Electronic address:


Parasites have evolved various strategies to exploit hosts to their own advantage. Bodyguard manipulations consist of usurping the behaviour of the host to confer some protection to the parasite and/or its offspring. Dinocampus coccinellae Schrank is a solitary endoparasitoid of the spotted lady beetle Coleomegilla maculata lengi Timberlake. The parasitoid larva grows inside the host until mature, then egresses and spins a cocoon between the ladybird's legs. Unlike most parasitoids, D. coccinellae does not kill its host during development, but keeps the coccinellid partially paralysed on top of the cocoon, where it acts as a bodyguard against natural enemies. As recently shown, the presence of a living ladybird on the parasitoid cocoon provides efficient protection against a predator, lacewing larvae. In the present study, we used predators with different foraging behaviours--jumping spiders and crickets--to explore the relevance of the bodyguard strategy for D. coccinellae in a multipredator context. Although the manner of the protection differs among the different tested predators, the presence of the ladybird always enhances parasitoid survival, even when it first increases detection of the cocoon-ladybird complex, as is the case with jumping spiders. Furthermore, although a dead bodyguard is sufficient to passively defend parasitoid cocoons against crickets, it provides only partial protection against jumping spiders. Altogether, these results support the bodyguard hypothesis in a multipredator context, since the presence of a living coccinellid significantly reduces cocoon predation by predators having different prey specificities, morphologies, and hunting behaviours.


Cricket; Dinocampus coccinellae; Host behaviour manipulation; Jumping spider; Parasitic wasp

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