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Effect of mating combinations on the host parasitisation and sex allocation in solitary endoparasitoid, Aenasius arizonensis (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae)

Shera, P. S., Karmakar, Prasun
Biocontrol science and technology 2018 v.28 no.1 pp. 49-61
Aenasius, Phenacoccus solenopsis, adults, biological control, endoparasitoids, females, instars, males, mass rearing, nymphs, parasitism, progeny, sex allocation, sex ratio
Aenasius arizonensis (Girault) is an important solitary endoparasitoid of Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley. To optimise the mass production of high-quality females, it is important to assess the influence of mating regimes on the progeny fitness and sex allocation. We, therefore, hypothesise that mating combinations in A. arizonensis adults emerged from different host instars may influence parasitism and sex allocation in the subsequent generation. Therefore, we compared three nymphal instars (1st, 2nd and 3rd) and adults host stages of P. solenopsis for parasitism and sex allocation by A. arizonensis. Further, F₁ female progeny of the parasitoid emerged from different host instars was henceforth evaluated for its fitness in six mating combinations. A. arizonensis females parasitised all the host stages except the 1st instar nymphs. The parasitised 2nd instar nymphs yielded only males, while the sex ratio in the later host instars was strongly female-biased. The parasitoid females preferred 3rd instar nymphs with respect to higher parasitism (74.0–84.0%) and produced more females in the F₁ progeny as compared to other host stages. F₁ females that emerged from 3rd instar nymphs produced significantly higher parasitism (74.0–79.0%). These mating combinations also yielded more female progeny in the F₂ generation. However, parasitism by F₁ females was significantly lower (9.0–12.0%) when mated with males that emerged from 2nd instar P. solenopsis nymphs. Moreover, latter combinations yielded only male progeny in F₂ generation. These findings can be used in laboratory mass rearing of this parasitoid vis-à-vis biological control of P. solenopsis.