Different habitats, different habitats? Response to foraging information in the parasitic wasp Venturia canescens.

A. Thiel, G.J.J. Driessen, T.S. Hoffmeister

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The parasitic wasp, Venturia canescens (Gravenhorst) (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), has two reproductive modes, namely, thelytoky or arrhenotoky, and occurs in habitats with highly variable or relatively stable host abundances, respectively. Since information processing is costly, we expected that information indicating resource availability would be mainly used by the thelytokous wasps and less so by the arrhenotokous type. This idea was explored by two different approaches. In a study on patch-time allocation, we used females from ten populations and measured patch-residence times of individuals that visited multiple patches at different encounter rates. In a more detailed approach, thelytokous and arrhenotokous females from a single location were observed continuously while foraging, and all behaviors were recorded. Wasps of both reproductive modes (i.e., both habitat types) used information for the assessment of habitat quality. However, the way that the information was used differed between them. Whereas thelytokous females used foraging information to maximize their efficiency at high patch-encounter rates, arrhenotokous females merely reduced the number of offspring produced without changing patch times. The behavior of the arrhenotokous females should result in a spreading of offspring across the habitat and, thus, reduced sib-mating. The foraging strategy of these wasps might therefore be an adaptation to reduce costs associated with inbreeding. © Springer-Verlag 2005.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)614-623
    JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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