Microbial symbionts of parasitoids

Marcel Dicke*, Antonino Cusumano, Erik H. Poelman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Parasitoids depend on other insects for the development of their offspring. Their eggs are laid in or on a host insect that is consumed during juvenile development. Parasitoids harbor a diversity of microbial symbionts including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. In contrast to symbionts of herbivorous and hematophagous insects, parasitoid symbionts do not provide nutrients. Instead, they are involved in parasitoid reproduction, suppression of host immune responses, and manipulation of the behavior of herbivorous hosts. Moreover, recent research has shown that parasitoid symbionts such as polydnaviruses may also influence plant-mediated interactions among members of plant-associated communities at different trophic levels, such as herbivores, parasitoids, and hyperparasitoids. This implies that these symbionts have a much more extended phenotype than previously thought. This review focuses on the effects of parasitoid symbionts on direct and indirect species interactions and the consequences for community ecology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-190
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Entomology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Bacteria
  • Direct interactions
  • Ecology
  • Indirect interactions
  • Insect-plant interactions
  • Multitrophic interactions
  • Parasitoid-host interactions
  • Viruses


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