Exploitation of Chemical Signaling by Parasitoids: Impact on Host Population Dynamics

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Chemical information mediates species interactions in a wide range of organisms. Yet, the effect of chemical information on population dynamics is rarely addressed. We designed a spatio-temporal parasitoid—host model to investigate the population dynamics when both the insect host and the parasitic wasp that attacks it can respond to chemical information. The host species, Drosophila melanogaster, uses food odors and aggregation pheromone to find a suitable resource for reproduction. The larval parasitoid, Leptopilina heterotoma, uses these same odors to find its hosts. We show that when parasitoids can respond to food odors, this negatively affects fruit fly population growth. However, extra parasitoid responsiveness to aggregation pheromone does not affect fruit fly population growth. Our results indicate that the use of the aggregation pheromone by D. melanogaster does not lead to an increased risk of parasitism. Moreover, the use of aggregation pheromone by the host enhances its population growth and enables it to persist at higher parasitoid densities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-763
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • induced plant volatiles
  • drosophila-melanogaster
  • spatial dynamics
  • natural enemies
  • spatiotemporal dynamics
  • ecological perspective
  • leptopilina-heterotoma
  • aggregation pheromone
  • mediated aggregation
  • species coexistence


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