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Host-Size-Dependent Sex Ratios among Parasitoid Wasps: Does Host Growth Matter?

B. H. King
Oecologia
Vol. 78, No. 3 (1989), pp. 420-426
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4218884
Page Count: 7
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Host-Size-Dependent Sex Ratios among Parasitoid Wasps: Does Host Growth Matter?
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Abstract

Waage's (1982) hypothesis that host-size-dependent sex ratios will occur in parasitoids of nongrowing hosts and not in parasitoids of growing hosts is examined using published data on parasitoid wasps. Waage's hypothesis is supported as a general, but not absolute, rule: among solitary parasitoid wasps, a significantly greater proportion of parasitoids of nongrowing than of growing hosts show some evidence of host-size-dependent sex ratios (85% versus 42%, G=6.54, P<0.05). The premise of Waage's hypothesis -- that for parasitoids which develop in a growing stage, host size at oviposition is not a good predictor of the amount of resources available to the developing parasitoid -- is also examined. It is suggested that across host species Waage's premise will hold for some, but not all, parasitoids of growing hosts. Likely exceptions to Waage's premise, and thus his prediction, are discussed. Parasitoids of growing hosts which are expected to have evolved host-size-dependent sex ratios include parasitoids which utilize a narrow size range of host species, parasitoids which can distinguish among host species by some criterion other than size, and parasitoids which utilize host species whose susceptible instars do not overlap in size.

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