Studies in Ovipositional Behaviour and Control of Sex in Aphytis Melinus Debach, a Parasite of California Red Scale, Aonidiella Aurantii (Mask.).
Australian Journal of Zoology
22(2) 231 - 247
The growing adult female red scale was the most preferred stage for A. melinus, followed by the second growing instar and lastly the male prepupa. The numbers of scale parasitized, the total of eggs laid, the number of eggs per scale, sex ratio and size of the parasites produced were all ranked in the same order. The mean size of parasites produced within the third instar decreased as the number of parasites per host increased. In the absence of the preferred host stages, female A. melinus laid readily in the unpreferred stages. In both A. melinus and A, chrysomphali it was noted that in multi- parasitism pupation, pupal development and adult emergence of all parasites in one host were synchronized. In A. melinus the sex and number of eggs laid per host are influenced by the host's size and quality. When A. melinus laid more than one egg in one host, it laid female eggs first and male eggs later; apparently the spermatheca goes through a period of fatigue, and is incapable of delivering sperm to the eggs descending the oviduct. Sex ratio decreases with increase in number of parasites per host and density of parasite population relative to hosts. The deposition of parasite eggs in a host by one female was observed during a short cycle of oviposition. A. melinus laid its eggs both 'above' and 'below' the body of the scale, whereas A. chrysomphali did so exclusively 'below'. In young mated A. melinus, eggs laid above the body of the scale were females and those below were males, but in old mated females all eggs, wherever laid, were male. Host development stops as soon as a parasite egg is laid. A. melinus avoids laying eggs in already parasitized hosts. The stages of red scale were ranked according to the percentage of mutilated individuals as: first moult (most mutilated), second instar, first instar, third instar, male prepupa and male pupa; second-moult females, egg-maturation stage and crawler-producing stage were unmutilated. A. melinus sometimes partitions her clutch of eggs into two hosts, particularly when host density is high. Partitioning in A. melinus may substitute for the generally accepted practice of super- parasitism, which would not be appropriate because the parasite is able to distinguish between parasitized and unparasitized hosts, is able to sense host density and to distribute her progeny on available hosts. Partitioning is advantageous for biological control. Behaviour of oviposition, mutilation and mutilation feeding in A. melinus are described in detail.
Full text doi:10.1071/ZO9740231
© CSIRO 1974