The potential rate of evolution of resistance to natural enemies depends on the genetic variation present in the population and any trade-offs between resistance and other components of fitness. We measured clonal variation and covariation in pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) for resistance to two parasitoid species (Aphidius ervi and A. eadyi) and a fungal pathogen (Erynia neoaphidis). We found significant clonal variation in resistance to all three natural enemies. We tested the hypothesis that there might be trade-offs (negative covariation) in defensive ability against different natural enemies, but found no evidence for this. All correlations in defensive ability were positive, that between the two parasitoid species significantly so. Defensive ability was not correlated with fecundity. A number of aphid clones were completely resistant to one parasitoid (A. eadyi), but a subset of these failed to reproduce subsequently. We discuss the factors that might maintain clonal variation in natural enemy resistance.
Corresponding Editor: T. Kawecki