Behavioural specialization among populations of the acoustically orienting parasitoid fly Ormia ochracea utilizing different cricket species as hosts

David A. Gray, Christina Banuelos, Sean E. Walker, William H. Cade, Marlene Zuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Tightly coupled evolutionary associations between parasites and their hosts are well known. What is less well characterized is the behavioural specialization of parasites that exploit different hosts in different parts of the parasite's geographical range. Here we examine behavioural specialization among populations of a parasitoid fly, Ormia ochracea, that exploit different host species of crickets in different parts of the fly's range. We conducted a field experiment to compare phonotactic attraction of flies from Florida, Texas, California and Hawaii (U.S.A.) to the songs of their local host species of cricket versus their attraction to the songs of species of crickets utilized as hosts elsewhere within the flies' range. We found strong behavioural specialization of fly populations, with preferential phonotaxis towards the song of the local host species of cricket. These results suggest strong behavioural specialization of flies, but that specialization does not constrain or preclude the rapid adoption of novel hosts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume73
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by grants from the California State University Northridge, Office of Research and Sponsored Projects and the College of Science and Mathematics to D.A.G., and a Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada operating grant to W.H.C. Fieldwork was facilitated by Tom Walker (Gainesville, Florida), Larry Gilbert and John Crutchfield (Brackenridge Field Laboratory, Austin, Texas) and Carol Felixson (University of California, Los Angeles, Stunt Ranch Reserve). Flies that were collected on National Park Service lands were collected under permit SAMO-2001-SCI-0011.

Keywords

  • Ormia ochracea
  • acoustic communication, behavioural specialization
  • diptera-orthoptera coevolution
  • eavesdropping
  • host selection
  • parasitoid fly

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