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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Scientific Reports
Volume (Issue) 9(1)
Page(s) 18591 - 18591
Title of proceedings Scientific Reports
DOI 10.1038/s41598-019-55143-5

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


The interaction between the seed beetle Zabrotes subfasciatus and its parasitoid Stenocorse bruchivora, was investigated on seeds of two populations of wild lima bean, Phaseolus lunatus. By manipulating the number of beetle larvae per seed and the presence of parasitoids, we determined how factors related to beetle larvae density, the seed in which they feed and the parasitoid, may interact and affect host and parasitoid survival. Results showed that an increase in larval beetle density had a negative impact on beetle performance. This effect cascaded up to parasitoids, high larval density strongly reduced parasitoid emergence. Also, parasitoid presence resulted in faster beetle development and lower female weight. An interactive effect between larval host density and parasitoid presence affected the number of insects that emerged from the seeds. Beetle performance was better in the bean population with the largest seeds, while parasitoid emergence was the lowest in these seeds. This study shows that the impact of parasitoids on seed beetles is contingent on the interaction between density-mediated (direct mortality) and trait-mediated (e.g. non-consumptive) effects. Indirect trait-mediated effects of natural enemies are likely prevalent across insect communities, understanding their role in driving host- parasitoid interactions can have important implications for biological control.