Oviposition behavior of the quasi-gregarious parasitoid, Ooencyrtus kuvanae (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae)

Richard W. Hofstetter, Kenneth F. Raffa, Miriam Halevy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The parasitoid wasp, Ooencyrtus kuvanae (Howard) (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), is a natural enemy of the spongy moth, a significant forest pest in North America. We investigated the oviposition behavior of O. kuvanae females on spongy moth egg masses by (i) presenting female parasitoids with a single spongy moth egg mass that was replaced every day, 2nd day, 4th day, 8th day, or 16th day (which is the total length of the oviposition period) and (ii) presenting female parasitoids with 1, 2, 4, or 8 egg masses at a time. Offspring developmental length ranged from 18 to 24 days. On average, male offspring exhibited faster developmental times, emerging approximately 1 day ahead of females. The amount of time that adult females spent on an egg mass affected the number of parasitized eggs. Specifically, more offspring emerged in the 4-, 8-, and 16-day treatments than in scenarios involving daily or every second-day egg mass replacement. The percentage of male offspring decreased as the number of egg masses presented to females increased. Interestingly, the total number of female offspring remained constant, but the number of male offspring decreased with an increase in the number of egg masses and time spent by the parent within a patch. The observed sexual dimorphism in development time, the influence of resource availability on offspring sex ratios, and flexible oviposition patterns illustrate the adaptability of O. kuvanae in response to varying conditions. These insights have implications for our understanding of parasitoid-host interactions and their potential role in biological control strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberieae018
JournalJournal of Insect Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • egg parasitoid
  • gypsy moth
  • local mate competition
  • sex ratio
  • spongy moth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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