Time-related rejection of parasitised hosts in the aphid parasitoid, Aphidius ervi
Time-related changes in the patterns of host discrimination may have a complex form depending on whether or not hosts are marked following first parasitisation, the persistence of chemicals in these marks, and changes in the host as a result of being parasitised. Here we present an experimental design capable of detecting temporal patterns in host discrimination of solitary parasitoids. This method is tested against experimental data from Aphidius ervi attacking the aphid, Acyrthosiphon kondoi. The results demonstrate that there are statistically significant changes in the patterns of egg distribution in aphid hosts held for intervals between 1 and 48 h between parasitisation. These changes appear to be attributable to increasing oviposition restraint by the superparasitising female as the time interval between attacks is increased. The form of this relationship is not significantly different to a sigmoid function and the rate of change of restraint was greatest between 6–8 h after the first oviposition.