Co-occurrence in ant primary parasitoids: a Camponotus rectangularis colony as host of two eucharitid wasp genera.

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Date: Aug. 18, 2021
From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 8,861 words
Lexile Measure: 1390L

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Abstract :

Different assemblages of parasitoids may attack a given host species and non-random distribution patterns in parasitoid species assemblages have been reported on various occasions, resulting in co-occurrence at the population, colony, or even individual host levels. This is the case for different closely related species of eucharitid wasps (a family of specialized ant parasitoids) sharing similar niches and co-occurring on the same host at different levels. Here we reviewed all known associations between eucharitid wasps and the ant host genus Camponotus Mayr, 1861 and reported new ant-parasitoid associations. In addition, we report a new case of co-occurrence in eucharitid wasps, at the host colony level, involving a new undescribed species of Pseudochalcura Ashmead, 1904 and an unidentified species of Obeza Heraty, 1985, which attack the common but very poorly known neotropical arboreal ant Camponotus rectangularis Emery, 1890. Most attacks were solitary, but various cocoons were parasitized by two (16%) or three (8%) parasitoids. Globally, parasitism prevalence was very low (3.7%) but showed an important variability among samples. Low parasitism prevalence along with host exposure to parasitoid attack on host plants and overlapping reproductive periods of both parasitoid species may have allowed the evolution of co-occurrence. We also provided some additional data regarding the host ant nesting habits, the colony composition and new symbiotic associations with membracids and pseudococcids. The seemingly polydomous nesting habits of C. rectangularis could play a part in the reduction of parasitism pressure at the population level and, combined with occasionally important local parasitism rates, could also contribute to some parts of the colonies escaping from parasites, polydomy possibly representing an effective parasitism avoidance trait.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A672427446