Superparasitism strategies by a native and an exotic parasitoid species attacking the Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens (Diptera: Tephritidae).
Superparasitism refers to the action of parasitoids ovipositing eggs in hosts that are already parasitized; this inevitably results in the elimination of supernumerary larvae in solitary parasitoids. Here, we investigated superparasitism performed by two species of solitary parasitoids on the larvae of Anastrepha ludens (Loew; Diptera: Tephritidae): a native species, Doryctobracon crawfordi (Viereck; Hymenoptera: Braconidae), and an exotic species, Diachasmimorpha tryoni (Cameron; Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Tests were conducted under laboratory conditions evaluating the behaviour of females acting alone (self-superparasitism) or in groups (conspecific superparasitism). Parasitism strategies were different between these two species. In D. crawfordi, the number of first instar larvae found in each dissected host pupa was never greater than two, regardless of the number of oviposition scars observed per pupa. In contrast, there was a positive correlation between the number of oviposition scars and the number of first instar larvae in D. tryoni. The survival and fecundity of D. crawfordi females emerging from pupae with one scar was higher than in females emerging from pupae with more scars. In D. tryoni, the number of oviposition scars did not show deleterious effects on life history traits and was positively correlated with the proportion of emerging females. An understanding of the superparasitism strategy adopted by parasitoid species could be of great interest to augmentative biological control programmes because the mass rearing of natural enemies could be negatively or positively affected by this condition.