Effects of biotic and abiotic factors on phenotypic partitioning of wing morphology and development in Sclerodermus pupariae (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae).

Sci Rep 2016 05 19;6:26408. Epub 2016 May 19.

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit, Newark, DE 19713, USA.

Wing phenotype polymorphism is commonly observed in insects, yet little is known about the influence of environmental cues on the development or expression of the alternative phenotypes. Here, we report how both biotic and abiotic factors affect the wing morph differentiation of a bethylid parasitoid Sclerodermus pupariae. The percentage of winged female parasitoid progeny increased exponentially with temperature between 20 °C to 30 °C. Low intensity light and short-day photoperiod conditions also significantly induced the development of winged morphs. Interestingly, wingless maternal parasitoids produced more winged progeny. Furthermore, the degree of wing dimorphism was significantly influenced by the interactions between light intensity and maternal wing morphs. The percentage of winged female progeny was not significantly influenced by foundress densities, but increased significantly with parasitoid brood sizes. However, the percentage of male progeny increased significantly with the densities of maternal parasitoids. Our findings highlight the phenotypic partitioning of wing morphology and development in the parasitoid S. pupariae under varied environmental cues, and reveal the most favourable conditions for the production of winged females in this bethylid wasp. It is thus possible to increase winged female parasitoid production for the purposes of biological control by manipulation of biotic and abiotic conditions.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep26408DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4872219PMC
May 2016
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