The effect of different dietary sugars and honey on longevity and fecundity in two hyperparasitoid wasps.

J.A. Harvey, J. Cloutier, B. Visser, J. Ellers, F.L. Wackers, G.J.Z. Gols

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    In nature adult insects, such as parasitic wasps or 'parasitoids' often depend on supplemental nutritional sources, such as sugars and other carbohydrates, to maximize their life-expectancy and reproductive potential. These food resources are commonly obtained from animal secretions or plant exudates, including honeydew, fruit juices and both floral and extra-floral nectar. In addition to exogenous sources of nutrition, adult parasitoids obtain endogenous sources from their hosts through 'host-feeding' behavior, whereby blood is imbibed from the host. Resources obtained from the host contain lipids, proteins and sugars that are assumed to enhance longevity and/or fecundity. Here we conducted an experiment exploring the effects of naturally occurring sugars on longevity and fecundity in the solitary hyperparasitoids, . Lysibia nana and . Gelis agilis. Although both species are closely related, . L. nana does not host-feed whereas . G. agilis does. In a separate experiment, we compared reproduction and longevity in . G. agilis reared on either honey, a honey-sugar 'mimic', and glucose. Reproductive success and longevity in both hyperparasitoids varied significantly when fed on different sugars. However, only mannose- and water-fed wasps performed significantly more poorly than wasps fed on four other sugar types. . G. agilis females fed honey produced twice as many progeny as those reared on the honey-sugar mimic or on glucose, whereas female longevity was only reduced on the mimic mixture. This result shows not only that host feeding influences reproductive success in . G. agilis, but also that non-sugar constituents in honey do. The importance of non-sugar nutrients in honey on parasitoid reproduction is discussed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)816-823
    JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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