The intensity of ultraviolet (UV) radiation varies widely in space, both across the globe and over small spatial scales (a few millimeters), depending on patterns of light and shade. Gradients of UV radiation can control the movement of organisms on landscapes and how the organisms perform. It is likely that insects are at high risk from UV radiation because of their small size; radiation may penetrate significantly deeper into insect tissues than into larger organisms, thereby disproportionately affecting their performance. We investigated the effects of UV radiation on the behavior and parasitism success of the agriculturally important egg parasitoid wasp, Trichogramma spp. We found that Trichogramma preferred to move toward higher intensities of UV-B radiation and parasitized more eggs in areas with higher UV-B radiation. However, higher UV-B radiation reduced the number of adult wasps emerging from host eggs. Trichogramma reproductive behavior may, therefore, be maladaptive depending on environmental context. These results could be of particular importance in the agricultural release of Trichogramma, especially in greenhouse settings, where levels of UV-B radiation are low.
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