Determinants of egg load in the soybean aphid parasitoid Binodoxys communis

Christine Dieckhoff, George E Heimpel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We used a series of laboratory studies to investigate factors contributing to variability in egg load of the parasitoid Binodoxys communis (Gahan) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a biological control agent of the soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hemiptera: Aphididae). The change in egg load in newly emerged females over time was determined in response to three treatments: post-eclosion temperature, sugar meals, and host density. Binodoxys communis females emerge with an average egg load of approximately 40 mature eggs that increases to approximately 200 eggs within 24 h of emergence. The egg maturation rate over this time period is higher when females are held at 26 °C than at 18 °C. And although the egg load of sugar-fed females was slightly higher than that of starved females, this difference was not statistically significant. Binodoxys communis females that were held with 150 hosts for 8 h laid more eggs than those that were held with 30 hosts, and they also matured more eggs over the subsequent 16 h than those held with 30 hosts or no hosts at all. However, we detected no difference in the egg maturation pattern between B. communis females held with the low host density and that of control females held with no hosts at all. Thus, we conclude that enhanced egg maturation in the higher host-density treatment is more likely explained by a rapid replenishing of partially depleted ovaries than a host-induced stimulus of egg maturation per se. Taken together, these results suggest a strategy of maintaining a high egg load and thus avoiding or mitigating the negative effects of egg limitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-261
Number of pages8
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Aphis glycines
  • Biological control
  • Braconidae
  • Egg maturation
  • Host density
  • Host deprivation
  • Hymenoptera
  • Nutrition
  • Oosorption
  • Synovigeny
  • Temperature


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