Parasitic wasps that use aphids as living nurseries for their brood will lay more eggs if the aphids host a protective bacterium.
A research team from the department of entomology at the University of Arizona has disentangled relationships in an assembly of players that resemble Russian dolls: a bacterium that lives inside a tiny insect, a virus that infects those bacteria, and a parasitic wasp that lays its eggs in the insect.
The research team found that the wasps are able to work out which aphids are harboring the symbionts and which are not.
“We discovered that the wasp would preferentially lay two eggs in infected hosts, and a single egg if the aphids were unprotected,” says study leader Kerry Oliver.
Full story at Futurity.
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Photo credit: Alex Wild