The parasitoid wasp Cotesia congregata lays its eggs within the body of its host, the larval form of the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta. Host behaviour appeared normal until approximately 8 h prior to the emergence of the parasitoids from their host at which time M. sexta feeding and locomotion declined irreversibly. This change in host behaviour may be to the advantage of the wasp since unparasitized M. sexta presented with wasp pupae ate them. Despite the decline in feeding and locomotion, hosts with emerged parasitoids had normal reflexes and showed no other signs of debilitation. Concomitant with the change in host behaviour, octopamine concentration measured using high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection (HPLC-ED) increased from 22.2±2.1 pg µl-1 to 143.7±7.8 pg µl-1 in the haemolymph of the host. In unparasitized M. sexta, however, increased octopamine levels were correlated with increased activity. We discuss possible explanations for the co-occurrence of high haemolymph octopamine levels and low behavioural arousal in parasitized M. sexta.
Correlation between changes in host behaviour and octopamine levels in the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta parasitized by the gregarious braconid parasitoid wasp Cotesia congregata
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S Adamo, C Linn, N Beckage; Correlation between changes in host behaviour and octopamine levels in the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta parasitized by the gregarious braconid parasitoid wasp Cotesia congregata. J Exp Biol 1 January 1997; 200 (1): 117–127. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.200.1.117
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