Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Asymmetries affecting aggressive contests between solitary parasitoids: the effect of host species

Citation

Guerra-Grenier, Eric; Abram, Paul K.; Brodeur, Jacques (2020), Data from: Asymmetries affecting aggressive contests between solitary parasitoids: the effect of host species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.s1rn8pk5q

Abstract

Conflicts in animals are usually resolved based on asymmetries, where contest winners are often those that value a resource the most and/or those who have the greatest potential to retain it. In parasitoid wasps, contests between females determine which individual exploits hosts for offspring production. Previous studies on solitary parasitoids rarely considered the role of biotic factors generating phenotypic variation that could influence the strength of asymmetries. Some parasitoid species parasitize host species of various sizes, producing offspring that vary considerably in size and potentially fighting ability. In this study, we reared the egg endoparasitoid Telenomus podisi (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) on two host species to measure the effect of body size on contest resolution and how it interacts with ownership and resource value asymmetries. Our results showed that ownership status best predicts final contest outcome when similar sized wasps fight over hosts. The frequency and outcomes of individual fights structuring contests were better explained by the difference in the number of eggs laid in the hosts by each female at a given time. When contestants varied in body size, larger intruders frequently dislodged small owners regardless of ownership and resource value asymmetries. These results imply that body size is an important factor to consider in solitary parasitoid contests and that it can overshadow the effects of other asymmetries. Our study suggests that host community diversity could have a direct effect on parasitoid contests and that biotic communities, through their effects on animal phenotypes, may play an underrated role in contest resolution.

Funding

Canadian Network for Research and Innovation in Machining Technology, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Canada Research Chairs