Translator Disclaimer
1 June 2009 Latitudinal Variation in Parasitoid Guild Composition and Parasitism Rates of North American Hawthorn Infesting Rhagoletis
Juan Rull, Robert Wharton, Jeffrey L. Feder, Larissa Guillén, John Sivinski, Andrew Forbes, Martín Aluja
Author Affiliations +

Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae) populations in North America have diverged by exploiting host plants with varying fruiting phenologies in environments that differ markedly in temperature and humidity. As a result, four genetically and ecologically distinct R. pomonella populations that display partial reproductive isolation have evolved. Host shifting by Rhagoletis and similar evolutionary histories could have had cascading effects across trophic levels, influencing the diversity and distribution of associated parasitoid guilds. To establish the basis for a future understanding of the possible effect of divergence in R. pomonella populations on the parasitoids attacking these flies, we surveyed parasitoids from five different species of hawthorns distributed over 15 states in México and 2 states in the midwestern United States. Emerging parasitoids were identified, parasitism rates were calculated, and regional fly and parasitoid emergence schedules were determined. Parasitism rate, emergence schedules, Shannon-Weiner diversity indexes, and species accumulation curves were compared across three main geographical regions. Parasitism levels varied greatly among regions from an overall high of 27.2% in the United States to 5.5% in the Sierra Madre Oriental (SMO) mountains of Mexico, to as low as 0.19% in the Eje Volcánico Trans Mexicano (EVTM). Shannon-Weiner diversity indexes showed that parasitoid species diversity was similar across the distribution range of R. pomonella in Mexico and the United States because of the fact that total parasitism was dominated by only two species, one of them recovered across the whole North American range of hawthorn infesting Rhagoletis. Nevertheless, eight parasitoids were found attacking R. pomonella in Mexico compared with only four collected in the United States. Only two diapausing parasitoid species were shared between the U.S. and Mexican R. pomonella populations: Utetes canaliculatus and Diachasmimorpha mellea. Interestingly, many subtropical parasitoid species, usually associated to flies in the subtropical genus Anastrepha, were recovered in the SMO in low numbers. The wide distribution of U. canaliculatus and D. mellea offers an ideal opportunity to test for a shared biogeography and co-evolution between fly and parasitoids. In this regard, one factor contributing to the success of U. canaliculatus seems to be the wasp's ability to modulate its eclosion time to track regional variation in hawthorn fruiting phenology and host (i.e., fly larvae) availability. Both R. pomonella and U. canaliculatus from southern sites emerged later than insects from northern populations, mirroring seasonal differences in hawthorn fruiting times across Mexico and the United States. These results suggest that molecular studies and crossing experiments could show, as they have for Rhagoletis, recent speciation events for parasitoid species of Nearctic origin that were found to be ecologically tracking environmentally driven divergence of their tephritid hosts.

© 2009 Entomological Society of America
Juan Rull, Robert Wharton, Jeffrey L. Feder, Larissa Guillén, John Sivinski, Andrew Forbes, and Martín Aluja "Latitudinal Variation in Parasitoid Guild Composition and Parasitism Rates of North American Hawthorn Infesting Rhagoletis," Environmental Entomology 38(3), 588-599, (1 June 2009).
Received: 12 January 2009; Accepted: 1 March 2009; Published: 1 June 2009

This article is only available to subscribers.
It is not available for individual sale.

Get copyright permission
Back to Top