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Superparasitism

The condition resulting from the use of a single host individual by more number of individual parasitoids of the same species than it can successfully switch to maturity because of nutritional limitation. This occurs with solitary endoparasites, physiological suppression of the super numeracy larvae or eggs results in the survival of a dominant individual. In some cases, however, host itself succumbs prematurely before the super numeracy parasites are eliminated and all perish.

The many parasitoids usually are the progeny of multiple attacks by different individual adult females, e.g. the larva of the introduced pine saw fly, each of which may carry several macrotype eggs of a tachinid, Diplostichus lophyri. Though all eggs may hatch and the larvae penetrate the hosts integument only one will survive to the adult stage. When an individual host is parasitized by more than one larva of a single species, but all survive, this is either gregarious or polyembronic parasitism. In some cases, when hosts are few or when the parasite fails to find unparasitized hosts, super parasitism does occur.

Current Category » Production Techniques for Biological Control Agents