Data for: Strong effects of food quality on host life history do not scale to impact parasitoid efficacy or life history
Holmes, Leslie A.; Nelson, William A.; Lougheed, Stephen C. (2023), Data for: Strong effects of food quality on host life history do not scale to impact parasitoid efficacy or life history , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3ffbg79n3
Parasitoids are small insects, (e.g., small wasps or flies) that reproduce by laying eggs on or within host arthropods. Parasitoids make up a large proportion of the world’s biodiversity and are popular agents of biological control. Idiobiont parasitoids paralyze their hosts upon attack and thus are expected to only target hosts large enough to support offspring development. Host resources generally impact host attributes and life histories including size, development, and life span. Some argue slow host development in response to resource quality increases parasitoid efficacy (i.e., a parasitoid’s ability to successfully reproduce on or within a host) due to longer host exposure to parasitoids. However, this hypothesis is not always supported and does not consider variation in other host traits in response to resources that may be important for parasitoids (e.g., variation in host size is known to impact parasitoid efficacy). In this study, we test whether trait variation within host developmental stages in response to host resources is more important for parasitoid efficacy and life histories than trait variation across host developmental stages. We exposed seed beetle hosts raised on a food quality gradient to mated female parasitoids and measured the number of hosts parasitized and parasitoid life history traits at the scale of host stage- and age-structure. Our results suggest host food quality does not cascade to impact idiobiont parasitoid life histories despite large food quality effects on host life history. Instead, variation in host life histories across host developmental stages better predicts parasitoid efficacy and life histories, suggesting finding a host in a specific instar is more important for idiobiont parasitoids than finding hosts on or within higher quality resources.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada