Canadian Forest Service Publications

The ectoparasitic wasp Eulophus pennicornis (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) uses instar-specific endocrine disruption strategies to suppress the development of its host Lacanobia oleracea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) 2006. Edwards, J.P.; Bell, H.A.; Audsley, N.; Marris, G.C.; Kirkbride-Smith, A.; Bryning, G.; Frisco, C.; Cusson, M. J. Insect Physiol. 52: 1153-1162.

Year: 2006

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26963

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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To successfully complete its development, the gregarious ectoparasitoid Eulophus pennicornis must inhibit the moult of its host, Lacanobia oleracea. In the present study, we examined the possibility that moult- and metamorphosis-associated endocrine events may be disrupted in caterpillars parasitized as newly moulted last (sixth) instars. Juvenile hormone (JH) titres on days 2 and 5 of the final stadium were significantly higher (>100 fold) in parasitized than in non-parasitized hosts, in which JH was essentially absent. Elevated JH levels were associated with reduced haemolymph JH esterase (JHE) activity (down by <=99.8%) and enhanced in vitro JH biosynthesis by the corpora allata (CA) (up to 4.5 fold). Wasp adults and/or larvae, in which we measured high levels of JH III (up to 2.7 ng/g), but little or no JH I or JH II, were not seen as likely sources of JH in parasitized hosts, in which we found mostly JH I and JH II. In addition, removal of parasitoid eggs or larvae after oviposition did not prevent the rise in JH titres seen in parasitoid-laden hosts, suggesting that wasp venom may be responsible for the observed hormonal dysfunction. Host haemolymph 20-hydroxyecdysone (20-E) levels were largely unaffected by parasitism during the final stadium although they were observed to increase earlier and decrease more rapidly in parasitized insects. We compare these results with those reported earlier for L. oleracea larvae parasitized by E. pennicornis as penultimate (fifth) instars, which display significantly depressed 20-E titres relative to control larvae. We conclude that E. pennicornis employs host endocrine-disruption strategies that differ according to whether the host is parasitized as a penultimate or final-stadium larva.