Dynamic egg maturation strategies in an aphid parasitoid

Zhishan Wu, George E. Heimpel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Females of the parasitoid Aphelinus albipodus both lay more eggs on younger stages of their aphid host, Aphis glycines, and contain more mature eggs in their ovaries when held with these younger host stages. This suggests that egg maturation is more rapid in the presence of younger host stages. Three factors explaining the difference in the egg loads of A. albipodus females exposed to various host stages are examined. These are (i) the number of host-feeding meals; (ii) the number of eggs laid; and (iii) the host stage utilized. Together, these factors explain 69% of the variance in A. albipodus egg load. The number of host-feeding meals taken by females is a strong predictor of egg load. More host meals are taken on young hosts, suggesting that host feeding contributes to the trend of faster egg maturation in the presence of younger hosts. Host stage has a strong impact on egg load even when the effect of host feeding is accounted for. There is no evidence for an effect of the oviposition rate on egg load. The results indicate that egg maturation by A. albipodus is dynamic; females mature eggs faster when in the presence of preferred hosts. It is hypothesized that this allows A. albipodus females to more closely match their reproductive effort to reproductive opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiological Entomology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007


  • Aphelinus
  • Egg load
  • Egg maturation
  • Host feeding


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