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An autoparasitoid wasp, inferior at resource exploitation, outcompetes primary parasitoids by using competitor females to produce males

Marrao R., Frago E., Pereira J.A., Tena A.. 2020. Ecological Entomology, 45 (3) : p. 727-740.

DOI: 10.1111/een.12846

1.Autoparasitoids are intraguild consumers that attack and kill heterospecific and conspecific parasitoids as well as immature stages of hemipteran hosts, such as aphids, whiteflies and soft scales. Field experiments assessing the importance of interspecific competition between autoparasitoids and primary parasitoids, as well as its impact on herbivore suppression, are scarcely found in the ecological literature. 2. Using field data from 40 olive orchards, this study examined the mechanisms that regulate: (i) the interspecific competition between primary parasitoids of the genus Metaphycus and the autoparasitoid Coccophagus lycimnia; and (ii) the density of their shared herbivore host, the soft scale Saissetia oleae. 3. Metaphycus parasitoids used smaller hosts than C. lycimnia, yet did not outcompete C. lycimnia. On the other hand, C. lycimnia preferred to use Metaphycus females as secondary hosts for producing males rather than their own females. This preference might explain why the autoparasitoid negatively affected the density of the primary parasitoids. 4. Parasitism by the autoparasitoid C. lycimnia at the beginning of the season was the sole variable positively related to host mortality throughout the season, showing its greater effect on herbivore suppression. 5. In this study, an autoparasitoid, inferior at resource exploitation, was shown to outcompete a primary parasitoid without disrupting herbivore suppression.

Mots-clés : metaphycus; parasitoïde; coccophagus; compétition interspécifique; saissetia oleae; prédateur; olea europaea; verger; feuille; collecte de données; analyse de données; méthode statistique; portugal; coccophagus lycimnia; autoparasitoïde

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