Exotic vs native: the competition of Qfly parasitoids

Congratulations to Dr Kiran Mahat and his coauthor for recently publishing the following paper in BioControl!

Read the publication.

"Competition between Diachasmimorpha kraussii and Fopius arisanus in Bactrocera tryoni: does native parasitoid-host association matter?"

Kiran Mahat & Anthony R. Clarke


In Australia Fopius arisanus (Sonan) is an established, but exotic fruit fly egg-larval-pupal parasitoid which co-occurs with Diachasmimorpha kraussii (Fullaway), a native larval-pupal fruit fly parasitoid: both attack the native fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt). In interactions involving evolutionary novel host-parasitoid associations, F. arisanus consistently out-competes other parasitoid species, including D. kraussii. However, in fruit fly-parasitoid systems where there is co-evolutionary history between parasitoids and their hosts, competitive hierarchies can vary. In this study we investigated the outcome of competition between F. arisanus and D. kraussii within B. tryoni, to test whether the close evolutionary relationship between D. kraussii and B. tryoni might circumvent the competitive advantage of F. arisanus. Consistent with previous research, and despite the evolutionary relationship, dissection of multiparasitized B. tryoni larvae showed that D. kraussii was invariably suppressed by F. arisanus. A total of 47% and 74% of the eggs of D. kraussii in presence of F. arisanus were killed within a span of 24 h and 48–72 h, respectively. However, parasitoid emergence from fruit fly hosts exposed sequentially to F. arsianus and D. kraussii suggest that D. kraussii females are able to discriminate hosts already parasitized by F. arisanus. Results show that the co-evolutionary relationship between B. tryoni and D. kraussii does not help overcome the early-acting advantage of the egg parasitoid F. arisanus. Though F. arisanusmay not have completely displaced D. kraussii in its native habitat, simultaneous inundative releases of these two parasitoid species (currently under consideration) might not help increase B. tryoni parasitism levels.

Photo: Fopius arisanus from