Parasitised caterpillars suffer reduced predation: Potential implications for intra-guild predation

Wen-bin Chen, Liette Vasseur, Min-sheng You, Jian-yu Li, Cheng-xiang Wang, Ruo-xue Meng, Geoff M. Gurr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Intra-guild predation (IGP) is an important phenomenon structuring ecological communities and affects the success of biological control. Here we show that parasitism by the koinobiont wasp Cotesia vestalis is associated with behavioural changes in its larval host (diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella) that reduce risk of IGP. Compared with unparasitised caterpillars, parasitised P. xylostella moved less frequently to new feeding patches on plants and were less likely to fall from the plant. Wolf spiders killed significantly fewer parasitised larvae. Reflecting their reduced movement and capacity to select plant tissue of optimal quality, parasitised caterpillars fed at a lower rate and exhibited delayed development suggesting a trade-off between IGP avoidance and nutrient intake by the host. This change in behaviour to reduce risk may cascade to the first trophic level and help explain the stability of IGP systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42636
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2017


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