Evolution in a laboratory host parasitoid system and its effect on population kinetics

Nasser Zareh, Mark Westoby, David Pimentel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


A laboratory system was developed that allowed populations of the house fly, Musca domestica, and its hymenopterous, wasp parasitoid, Nasonia vitripennis, to interact and fluctuate in numbers, subject only to an upper limit on Musca density. In one (experimental) treatment, the selection pressure from Nasonia was allowed to operate, while in the control all Musca adults were replaced in each generation by individuals from a Musca population not exposed to Nasonia. Evolution for resistance of Musca to Nasonia became noticeable within four generations in the experimental treatment. Measured changes finally included increased fly pupal weight (although larval development period was not allowed to increase), less time spent as pupa, increased pupal mortality, and reduced fecundity of adults. Total per-generation increase of both control and experimental Nasonia was much reduced on experimental compared with control Musca. This was caused by reductions both in the longevity of female Nasonia and in the number of progeny they produced each day. From early in the experiment the increased resistance of Musca produced lower Nasonia densities in the experimental treatment. During the first 20 or so generations no difference could be detected in mean Musca density between the two treatments. After that time the density of adult Musca became greater, and fluctuated less, in the experimental than in the control treatment. This situation continued until the experiment ended at 50 generations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1060
Number of pages12
JournalThe Canadian Entomologist
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1980
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution in a laboratory host parasitoid system and its effect on population kinetics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this