Insects (2020) 11 (1 - 6)
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"Generalist" aphid parasitoids behave as specialists at the agroecosystem scale
Insects 11 (1 - 6)
Abstract: The degree of trophic specialization of interacting organisms impacts on the structure of ecological networks and has consequences for the regulation of crop pests. However, it remains difficult to assess in the case of parasitoids. Host ranges are often established by listing host records from various years and geographic areas in the literature. Here, we compared the actual hosts exploited at a local farm-scale by aphid parasitoids (Hymenoptera: Aphidiinae), to the available species listed as hosts for each parasitoid species. We sampled aphids and their parasitoids in cultivated and uncultivated areas in an experimental farm from April to November 2014 and thereafter used DNA-based data to determine whether a differentiation in sequences existed. Twenty-nine parasitoid species were found on 47 potential aphid hosts. Our results showed that the great majority of the parasitoid tested used fewer host species than expected according to data published in the literature and parasitized a limited number of hosts even when other potential hosts were available in the environment. Moreover, individuals of the most generalist species differed in their DNA sequences, according to the aphid species and/or the host plant species. At a local scale, only obligate or facultative specialist aphid parasitoids were detected. Local specialization has to be considered when implementing the use of such parasitoids in pest regulation within agroecosystems.
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Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
general biology - morphology - evolution