Host handling time in a polyembryonic wasp is affected both by previous experience and by host state (parasitized or not)

Michal Segoli, Ally R. Harari, Amos Bouskila, Tamar Keasar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Foraging behavior for hosts in parasitoids resembles that of predators with respect to finding, evaluating and manipulating of the prey. Host handling time may depend on the life history of the parasitoid and can be affected by oviposition experience. Additionally, handling time can be affected by host aggregation, species, size and state (parasitized or not). We studied handling times in the egg-larval parasitoid wasp Copidosoma koehleri. We allowed naïve female wasps to oviposit into three consecutive unparasitized hosts, and measured time until oviposition, and the duration of ovipositor insertion. We recorded the same data for naïve females ovipositing into already parasitized hosts. We found that both previous experience by females and previous parasitism of hosts reduced handling time. The results suggest that host handling durations reflect the interplay between host state and parasitoid internal state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-510
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank Ori Becher, Sara Baranes, Adi Sadeh, and Daphna Gottlieb for assistance and discussions. This research was supported by THE ISRAEL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant No. 184/06)


  • Copidosoma koehleri
  • Experience
  • Host handling
  • Parasitoids
  • Superparasitism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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