Effect of host density on searching behaviour of Nemeritis canescens (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae)

Cook, R. M. and Hubbard, S. F. (1980) Effect of host density on searching behaviour of Nemeritis canescens (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 27 (3). pp. 205-210. ISSN 0013-8703

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Abstract

Observations were made over one hour of individual parasites, N. canescens, searching for their hosts, larvae of the moth Plodia interpunctella, at five different host densities. Records were made of the total number of hosts encountered at each density, the total number of eggs laid and the handling time per host. Holling's disc equation was found to fit the data well and gave estimates for rate of parasite search (a) and handling time (b) close to values actually observed. Despite the good fit, rate of search and handling time both declined as host density increased. The time spent handling already parasitised hosts, "avoidance time" was found to be about half the value of handling time.