The dynamics of egg production, oviposition and resorption in a parasitoid wasp.
The extent to which parasitoid wasps are limited by their egg supply is very important in understanding their reproductive strategies. Egg reserves are dynamic, with most wasps maturing new eggs throughout their life (synovigeny) and many species resorbing eggs that are not used in oviposition. The extent to which a solitary parasitoid, Leptomastix dactylopii, which is synovigenic and practices egg resorption, modulates its egg reserves was investigated in the light of its experience in finding hosts, Planococcus citri. Newly-emerged wasps were allowed to experience one of four environments of increasing value in terms of reproductive opportunities. It was proposed that wasps that experienced good quality environments would maintain more mature eggs ready for oviposition. Dissection of wasps subject to different periods of host deprivation after the experimental treatment failed to confirm the hypothesis: egg load was independent of experience. It was also proposed that any adjustment of egg supply to make up for eggs oviposited would be effected through a reduction in egg resorption. Instead, wasps quickly made up for eggs oviposited by increased egg production.