The effects of host instar of Toxoptera citricida Kirkaldy (Homoptera: Aphididae) on the performance of the parasitoid Lipolexis oregmae (Gahan) (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae), originally Lipolexis scutellaris Mackauer, were evaluated in an effort to increase basic knowledge of this host–parasitoid association, improve field sampling methods, and potentially predict the success of parasitism in the field. L. oregmae was able to oviposit and develop in all four instars of T. citricida; however, there are differences in the quality of different host instars. Although second-instar hosts produce more L. oregmae progeny and a higher female-biased sex ratio, fourth-instar hosts produce L. oregmae progeny that are larger and have a higher realized fecundity. However, fourth-instar hosts require a longer handling time and expose the parasitoid female to more aphid behavioral defenses than do second-instar hosts. Additionally, results suggest that fourth-instar hosts may elicit a physiological immune response to parasitism; when aphids were observed being stung once, the number of L. oregmae larvae present on dissection after 4 d and the number of eclosed adults was lower in fourth- than in second-instar hosts. Pupal mortality of L. oregmae was also higher in fourth-instar hosts compared with second-instar hosts. The results of this study confirm that L. oregmae has a high reproductive rate and low incidence of incomplete parasitization on this host and is one of only a few natural enemies able to complete development in all instars of the brown citrus aphid in Florida.
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Vol. 96 • No. 6