Influence of the rearing host on biological parameters of Trichopria drosophilae, a potential biological control agent of Drosophila suzukii.
Trichopria drosophilae is a pupal parasitoid that can develop in a large number of drosophilid host species including the invasive pest Drosophila suzukii, and is considered a biological control agent. We investigated the influence of the rearing host on the preference and performance of the parasitoid, using two different strains of T. drosophilae, reared on D. melanogaster or D. suzukii for approximately 30 generations. Host switching was employed to assess the impact of host adaptation on T. drosophilae performance. In a no-choice experimental setup, T. drosophilae produced more and larger offspring on the D. suzukii host. When given a choice, T. drosophilae showed a preference towards D. suzukii, and an increased female ratio on this host compared to D. melanogaster and D. immigrans. The preference was independent from the rearing host and was confirmed in behavioral assays. However, the preference towards D. suzukii increased further after a host switch from D. melanogaster to D. suzukii in just one generation. Our data indicate that rearing T. drosophilae for several years on D. melanogaster does not compromise its performance on D. suzukii in the laboratory. However, producing a final generation on D. suzukii prior to release could increase its efficacy towards the pest.