As is the case with many egg parasitoids, parasitism rates in Trichogramma spp. vary markedly among individuals. Here we test whether this individual variability in Trichogramma carverae (Oatman and Pinto) is associated with trade-offs between early and late reproduction and between early reproduction and life span. We also consider a recently postulated trade-off between an index of pro-ovigeny and life span. Early and late reproduction were positively correlated. To further test for a trade-off, wasps were subdivided into groups depending on their total reproductive output because any correlations among traits might have been masked when wasps produced only a few eggs. This led to correlations between early and late reproductive output becoming negative. However, arbitrary subdivision in this manner is expected to result in artifactual negative correlations, and correlations between early and late reproduction were no longer evident once this confounding factor had been removed. There was no evidence that early reproduction influenced life span; even wasps that failed to parasitize any host eggs had the same mean life span as wasps that reproduced. There was a negative correlation between an index of pro-ovigeny and life span; however, this negative association is likely to be an artifact of the greater opportunity wasps have to parasitize eggs when they are long-lived. Patterns of reproduction and life span therefore appear unconstrained in Trichogramma spp.
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Vol. 95 • No. 6