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Offspring size-number strategy in the bethylid parasitoid Laelius pedatus

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Publication details

JournalBehavioral Ecology
DatePublished - 1998
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)54-59
Original languageEnglish


I observed clutch size and body size of resulting offspring for the parasitoid Laelius pedatus (Say) (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae) on hosts of different sizes. Results were compared with the predictions of offspring size-number models and clutch-size models. Larger clutches were laid on larger hosts. However, even after females had adjusted clutch size to the size of the host, offspring size was larger in larger broods. The variance in offspring size between broods decreased with increasing clutch size as expected, but the decrease was smaller than predicted by Charnov and Downhower's trade-off invariant rule. Theory predicts such trends when the shape of the trade-off between per capita investment and per capita offspring fitness depends on clutch size or host size. By observing how this assumption might apply to bethylid wasps, I generate a number of testable hypotheses to explain the observed trends.

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