Inheritance of an oviposition behavior by an egg parasitoid

D. M. Olson, D. A. Andow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A quantitative genetic study revealed genetic and environmental sources of variance in percentage parasitism of European corn borer egg masses and secondary sex ratios by Trichogramma nubilale. Full and half-sib groups of T. nubilale were obtained from a nested mating design, which permitted the partitioning of the variance of T. nubilale parasitism of European corn borer egg masses into additive genetic variance, maternal/dominant variance and environmental variance. A mother-daughter regression of the percentage of an egg mass parasitized allowed a determination of the direction of a potential response to selection in the event of maternal effects. No or very little additive genetic effects were associated with the percentage of eggs within a mass parasitized and secondary sex ratios, but a significant amount of the variance for both traits had a maternal and/or dominant genetic source. The relationship between mothers and daughters in egg mass parasitism was positive, and 55.4% of the progeny of a given mother had behaviors that resemble their mother. Most of the variance had an environmental and/or unknown genetic source implying potentially high phenotypic plasticity associated with all these traits. The presence of maternal effects and phenotypic plasticity could have multiple and complex effects on progeny characters and potential responses to selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-443
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank R Shaw, H Henter, P Timper and G Rains for their very helpful comments on various versions of this manuscript. Funding for this project has been approved by the Minnesota Legislature Subd. 6(a) as recommended by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, a biological control grant from the University of Minnesota, Department of Agriculture, and The Center for Community Genetics, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Minnesota.


  • Behavior
  • Maternal effects
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Quantitative genetics


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