Determination of Homalodisca coagulata (Hemiptera : Cicadellidae) egg ages suitable for oviposition by Gonatocerus ashmeadi, Gonatocerus triguttatus, and Gonatocerus fasciatus (Hymenoptera : Mymaridae)
Homalodisca coagulata (Say) (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) eggs 1-10 days of age were exposed to Gonatocerus ashmeadi Girault, Gonatocerus triguttatus Girault, and Gonatocerus fasciatus Girault (all Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) in no choice laboratory trials to investigate egg age utilization and to determine which egg ages are vulnerable to attack by these three parasitoids. The H. coagulata egg ages that were most suitable for oviposition by G. ashmeadi, G. triguttatus, and G. fasciatus were eggs 3, 4, and 2 days of age, respectively. Egg ages least suitable for parasitoid development were 6-10 days for G. ashmeadi (resulting in <50% parasitism), 1-2 and 7-10 days for G. triguttatus (resulting in <25% parasitism), and 3-10 days for G. fasciatus (resulting in <11% parasitism). Pooling parasitism data across all egg ages showed that parasitism by G. ashmeadi was 12.9 and 28.5% higher compared with G triguttatus and G. fasciatus, respectively, and G. triguttatus resulted in 15.6% higher percentage parasitism compared with G. fasciatus. Egg age had a significant effect on the percentage of female G. ashmeadi offspring produced, but this was not significant for G. triguttatus, and low G. fasciatus parasitism prevented statistical analyses for comparisons. Results from tests where females were offered a choice for oviposition between eggs 1, 3, and 5 days of age demonstrated that G. ashmeadi and G. triguttatus showed no significant oviposition preference, while percentage parasitism by G. fasciatus was 29.4 and 7.4% higher when females were presented eggs 1 and 3 days of age, respectively, compared with eggs 5 days of age. Choice tests indicated that an overlap in egg age suitability for oviposition exists between G. ashmeadi, G. triguttatus, and G. fasciatus, and that interspecific competition for eggs 1, 2, and 3 days of age may occur in the field environment. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.