Ecological Entomology (2009) 34, 204-213

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Sasha C. Voss, Helen Spafford and Ian R. Dadour (2009)
Host location and behavioural response patterns of the parasitoid, Tachinaephagus zealandicus Ashmead (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), to host and host-habitat odours
Ecological Entomology 34 (2), 204-213
Abstract: 1. To overcome the challenge of host location in patchy and complex environments, many parasitoids exploit host-habitat derived odour cues. This study investigated the role of odour cues used during host location by the generalist parasitoid, Tachinaephagus zealandicus, a common parasitoid of Dipteran larvae found in association with decomposing carrion.
2. A Y-tube olfactometer was used to test aspects of host searching behaviour of T. zealandicus females under different choice scenarios: combinations of host-liver complex, eaten liver, unwashed host larvae, washed host larvae, liver in six stages of decay, and control (no odour).
3. T. zealandicus females demonstrated an innate response to, and preference for, odours arising from liver substrates following interaction with the host. However, this was dependent on the stage of meat decay. Females were not attracted to liver that had never been in contact with a host, regardless of the stage of decay. There were discernible differences in parasitoid movement and behaviour under different choice scenarios. The absence of odour stimulus elicited limited movement about the olfactometer. In the presence of any odour stimuli, females were more active within the olfactometer, and when presented with two odour options T. zealandicus females demonstrate a heightened investigation response, moving across all regions of the olfactometer.
4. Knowledge of the cues that mediate host location for T. zealandicus can contribute to fields such as forensic entomology, where the presence of parasitoids on decomposing remains can be used to estimate time since death.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Helen Spafford

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
environment/habitat manipulation
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Tachinaephagus zealandicus (parasitoid)