The Role of Within-Host Competition for Coexistence in Multiparasitoid-Host Systems

Ellen van Velzen*, Saleta Perez Vila, Rampal S. Etienne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
204 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Multiparasitism (females of multiple species parasitizing the same host) is a ubiquitous phenomenon in parasitoids, yet the role of within-host competition has been mostly ignored in multiparasitoid-host models. Here we study the effect of varying the degree of competition at different life stages: competition over oviposition sites (between-adult competition) and larval competition over resources within the host (within-host competition). We adapt a Nicholson-Bailey model to allow for varying levels of between-adult competition (varying the overlap in species distributions) and within-host competition (varying the number of offspring that can successfully emerge from a host). Surprisingly, while stronger between-adult competition reduces coexistence, stronger within-host competition promotes it. Asymmetric between-adult competition (a fecundity difference between the two species) reduces coexistence when compared to symmetric competition; this can be counteracted by asymmetric within-host competition (within-host competitive advantage of the lower-fecundity species), but only when within-host competition is strong and the correlation between the parasitoids' distributions is intermediate. We discuss our results in the context of the interaction between two parasitoid species, Nasonia vitripennis and Nasonia giraulti, which have strongly correlated distributions and high levels of multiparasitism in the field. We conclude that either low or asymmetric within-host competition is unlikely to explain their coexistence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume187
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2016

Keywords

  • host-parasitoid
  • multiparasitism
  • coexistence
  • within-host competition
  • Nasonia vitripennis
  • Nasonia giraulti
  • WASP NASONIA-VITRIPENNIS
  • LOCAL MATE COMPETITION
  • PARASITIC WASP
  • INTERSPECIFIC COMPETITION
  • INSECT PARASITOIDS
  • LARVAL COMPETITION
  • BIOLOGICAL-CONTROL
  • SEX ALLOCATION
  • HYMENOPTERA
  • PTEROMALIDAE

Cite this