Female parasitoids are expected to distribute offspring among hosts in a manner that maximizes fitness. Several theoretical and empirical studies have focussed on clutch-size patterns in hymenopteran parasitoids. In contrast, dipteran parasitoids, which differ from hymenopterans in potentially important ways, have received little attention. The phonotactic tachinid fly Ormia ochracea has been intensively studied for its effects on host crickets, and has recently been the subject of studies of its own reproductive biology. This work suggests a negative relationship between clutch size and progeny fitness (consistent with hymenopterans), but no adjustment of clutch size to host size (different from hymenopterans). However, the repeatability of these patterns and the relationship between fly size and fitness remain to be demonstrated. We examined clutch sizes of O. ochracea larvae in the cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus. Most clutches were smaller than a cricket can support to pupation. Smaller clutches yielded larger offspring and larger wild-caught flies had higher fecundity, supporting the idea that small clutches yield higher fitness. However, although parasitised male crickets were slightly larger than unparasitised males, there was no correlation between cricket size and the number of larvae. Potential reasons for this departure from the patterns found in hymenopteran parasitoids are discussed.




URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bio_fac/113