Variation in levels of acceptance, developmental success, and abortion of Halyomorpha halys eggs by native North American parasitoids.
Using native North American parasitoid species (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) that often unsuccessfully attack the eggs of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), we assessed variation in traits that may determine the parasitoids' ability to adapt to the invasive host by either exploiting or avoiding H. halys eggs (acceptance, developmental success). We also assessed variation in the parasitoids' ability to induce H. halys host egg abortion, which may contribute to biological control of H. halys in invaded areas. The first set of experiments evaluated intra- and interspecific variation using standardized laboratory tests with iso-female lines of Telenomus podisi and Trissolcus euschisti that included matching of detailed behavioural observations of acceptance with developmental outcomes. In a second set of experiments, we assessed how variation in developmental ability and abortion induction may affect levels of biological control by indigenous parasitoid species. We examined a broader sample of parasitoids that emerged from field collections of egg masses of an indigenous north American stink bug Podisus maculiventris in a region newly invaded by H. halys. Results from the first set of experiments showed high levels of acceptance of H. halys eggs among iso-female lines of parasitoids, but offspring development success was almost zero. H. halys egg abortion due to unsuccessful parasitism was often very low and varied among iso-female lines only for T. podisi. In the second set of experiments we never observed increases in abortion levels of Halyomorpha halys eggs above natural levels, even for the two species (T. euschisti and T. podisi) that were observed to oviposit in and abort H. halys eggs in the first set of experiments. We conclude that while there may be some variation in behavioural and physiological parameters mediating acceptance and abortion of H. halys eggs by native North American egg parasitoids, there does not appear to be significant variation in developmental success. Moreover, current biological control impact of H. halys eggs via host egg abortion is likely very low.