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Behavioral and Chemical Investigations of Contact Kairomones Released by the Mud Dauber Wasp Trypoxylon politum, a Host of the Parasitoid Melittobia digitata

  • Authors: Gonzalez, JM; Cusumano, A; Williams, HJ; Colazza, S; Vinson, SB
  • Publication year: 2011
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Contact kairomones from the host mud dauber wasp Trypoxylon politum Say (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae) that mediate behavioral responses of its ectoparasitoid Melittobia digitata Dahms (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) were investigated. Chemical residues from host by-products, the cocoon, and the meconium, induced arrestment behavior of macropterous female parasitoids, while those from the host stage attacked, i.e., the prepupa, did not. Melittobia digitata response to polar and apolar extracts of host by-products indicated kairomone(s) solubility mainly in hexane. GC and GC/MS analysis of cocoon and meconium apolar extracts revealed a mixture of linear carboxylic acids from C-6 to C-18, and both extracts contained almost identical compounds. When a reconstructed blend of host by-product carboxylic acids was tested, M. digitata females showed only a weak response, thus suggesting that other unidentified compounds present in small quantities also may be involved. Melittobia digitata's response to contact kairomones was innate and not affected by previous host exposure experience. Our results provide evidence of contact kairomone exploitation in the genus Melittobia. The ecological significance of these findings in the host selection process of M. digitata is discussed.