Further notes on the biology of Pseudavga flavicoxa Tobias, 1964 (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Rhysipolinae) - NMS Research Repository
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Further notes on the biology of Pseudavga flavicoxa Tobias, 1964 (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Rhysipolinae)

27 February 2017

Abstract

Pseudavga flavicoxa, a solitary koinobiont ectoparasitoid of Bucculatrix thoracella, attacks host larvae early rather than late in their final instar, subsequent development of the parasitoid then occurring within the host cocoon. This paper supplements an earlier contribution outlining other aspects of its biology and taxonomy. The host is stung repeatedly, both into the thoracic region and elsewhere on its body, causing temporary paralysis and also enabling host-feeding, which preceded oviposition in all observed cases. Stung hosts then intercepted without oviposition occurring recovered and (like parasitized hosts) resumed feeding and then constructed a cocoon, but suffered developmental arrest as a prepupa. The egg is invariably laid onto the arthrodial membrane between the first and second thoracic segments, to which it is glued. This site is first prepared by the female by a to-and-fro motion involving contact by the lower valves of the ovipositor, which are somewhat blade-like and sharp-edged. It is unclear whether dried traces of a ‘glue’, presumably originally liquid, subsequently seen at this site were of host origin resulting from a small wound or arose as a secretion from the female wasp, but the former is suggested. The egg was seen to issue from the extreme base of the ovipositor, at most guided onto the prepared patch by the parted lower valves. Although clearly partly plurivoltine, P. flavicoxa is remarkably long-lived as an adult, both sexes being easily kept alive under semi-natural conditions (Edinburgh, U.K.) during the late summer and autumn, males for 8 weeks and females for up to 20, despite their small size (ca 2.2–2.4 mm long). Dissection of gravid females showed that each of the 4 ovarioles carried just one mature egg at a time, with submature eggs remaining only poorly developed until the mature egg was expended.

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