Energy flow from spider eggs through dipteran parasite and hymenopteran hyperparasite populations

Prakash, R. N. ; Pandian, T. J. (1978) Energy flow from spider eggs through dipteran parasite and hymenopteran hyperparasite populations Oecologia, 33 (2). pp. 209-219. ISSN 0029-8549

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The incidence of the parasites in the egg sacs of the spider Argiope pulchella was 100% for Sarcophaga banksi and 25% for Tachinobia repanda. In 1976, 237 spider eggs equivalent to 131 gcal/m2 were present. Of these, 212 eggs/m2 (=117 gcal) were consumed by S. banksi larvae, leaving 25 spiderlings/m2 (=14 gcal) to emerge. The density of S. banksi larvae was l/m2 (=87 gcal), of which 0.7/m2 S. banksi (=41 gcal) successfully emerged; as few as 0.3 S. banksi/m2 (=25 gcal) were infected by T. repanda; only 14 T. repanda/m2 (=8 gcal) successfully emerged. Exploitation efficiency was 89% for S. banksi and 29% for T. repanda. Ecological efficiency was 66% for S. banksi and only 9% for T. repanda. The egg sac area of A. pulchella holds a straight line relationship to the energy content of the eggs; the sacs were grouped into 8 different sizes and each one further into groups containing 1, 2, and 3 S. banksi larvae per sac. Analysis of the sacs at the appropriate time revealed that an S. banksi larva consumed a minimum of 114 eggs (=70 gcal), when present as one of a pair in the smallest sac (0.6 cm2 area), and a maximum of 476 eggs (=234 gcal), when present alone in the largest sac (1.3 cm2). Despite this wide difference in food intake, all S. banksi (barring those infected by T. repanda) successfully emerged. The energy content of a pharate pupa, which was 125, 92, and 68 gcal in a sac with 1 cm2 area containing 1, 2, or 3 S. banksi, depended on the size of the sac and the number of S. banksi per sac. The corresponding values for the imago were 82, 61, and 45 gcal. The efficiency of S. banksi ranged between 60 and 80% for food conversion and between 35 and 56% for pupation.

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