Aspects of the behavior, ecology and evolution of a braconid parasitoid

2001 2001

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

Insects pass through several life-stages during development and, ultimately, individuals interact within populations. My research focused on the immature and adult stages of parasitoids. A final study considered the interactions of parasitoids with their hosts at the metapopulation level.

To complete development the host of an immature parasitoid must survive until the parasitoid is ready to pupate. Parastized hosts may be at a competitive disadvantage, when competing with unparasitized individuals, because parasitism influences aspects of host behavior and development. I investigated the factors influencing the survival of parasitized hosts (hence parasitoids) when hosts compete for resources. I found that Acrobasis vaccinii parasitized by Phanerotoma franklini were at a competitive disadvantage compared to unparasitized A. vaccinii. I then sampled wild bogs to determine if competitive interactions occur in the field. My findings indicated that local densities of insects were high and that resources may be limiting in local areas. Finally, I developed an individual-based model to examine how resource limitation and parasitism rate influence the level of mortality caused by competition. The model suggested that the parasitism rate and level of resource availability interact to determine the level of mortality experienced by parasitized and unparasitized larvae.

Next, I examined the adult food foraging behavior of P. franklini . I determined that adult feeding significantly influenced adult lifespan and increased egg maturation. Subsequent studies found that the food sources used by this parasitoid were likely to be located in close vicinity to hosts and that substances leached to the surface of cranberry foliage may be a primary food source for the parasitoid. Feeding on leached substances did not reduce foraging efficiency in later laboratory tests.

I constructed a deterministic real-number model and a stochastic individual-based model to examine the role of space in the evolution of host resistance and parasitoid virulence. The individual-based model demonstrated substantial structuring of resistance traits in space when the movement rate of the host and parasitoid was low, while the deterministic model did not. I suggest that the inclusion of stochastic movement and extinction in the individual-based model resulted in the structuring of resistance traits in space. Consequently, the extinction of parasitoids in patches was common, and resulted in periods of selection against resistance.

Indexing (details)

0353: Entomology
0329: Ecology
Identifier / keyword
Biological sciences; Braconid; Competition; Foraging; Parasitoid
Aspects of the behavior, ecology and evolution of a braconid parasitoid
Sisterson, Mark Stuart
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 62/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
049339365X, 9780493393650
Averill, Anne L.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.