Haller's rule states that brains scale allometrically with body size in all animals, meaning that relative brain size increases with decreasing body size. This rule applies both on inter- and intraspecific comparisons. Only 1 species, the extremely small parasitic wasp Trichogramma evanescens, is known as an exception and shows an isometric brain-body size relation in an intraspecific comparison between differently sized individuals. Here, we investigated if such an isometric brain-body size relationship also occurs in an intraspecific comparison with a slightly larger parasitic wasp, Nasonia vitripennis, a species that may vary 10-fold in body weight upon differences in levels of scramble competition during larval development. We show that Nasonia exhibits diphasic brain-body size scaling: larger wasps scale allometrically, following Haller's rule, whereas the smallest wasps show isometric scaling. Brains of smaller wasps are, therefore, smaller than expected and we hypothesized that this may lead to adaptations in brain architecture. Volumetric analysis of neuropil composition revealed that wasps of different sizes differed in relative volume of multiple neuropils. The optic lobes and mushroom bodies in particular were smaller in the smallest wasps. Furthermore, smaller brains had a relatively smaller total neuropil volume and larger cellular rind than large brains. These changes in relative brain size and brain architecture suggest that the energetic constraints on brain tissue outweigh specific cognitive requirements in small Nasonia wasps.
- Confocal laser scanning microscopy
- Haller’s rule
- Mushroom body
- Nasonia vitripennis
- Parasitic wasp
Supplementary Material for: Nasonia Parasitic Wasps Escape from Haller's Rule by Diphasic, Partially Isometric Brain-Body Size Scaling and Selective Neuropil Adaptations