Resistance is costly: trade-offs between immunity, fecundity and survival in the pea aphid
Gwynn, D. M., Callaghan, A., Gorham, J., Walters, K. F. A. and Fellowes, M. D. E. (2005) Resistance is costly: trade-offs between immunity, fecundity and survival in the pea aphid. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 272 (1574). pp. 1803-1808. ISSN 1471-2954
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3089
Parasitoids are among the most important natural enemies of insects in many environments. Acyrthosiphon pisum, the pea aphid, is a common pest of the leguminous crops in temperate regions. Pea aphids are frequently attacked by a range of endoparasitic wasps, including the common aphidiine, Aphidius ervi. Immunity to parasitoid attack is thought to involve secondary symbiotic bacteria, the presence of which is associated with the death of the parasitoid egg. It has been suggested that there is a fecundity cost of resistance, as individuals carrying the secondary symbionts associated with parasitoid resistance have fewer offspring. Supporting this hypothesis, we find a positive relationship between fecundity and susceptibility to parasitoid attack. There is also a negative relationship between fecundity and off-plant survival time (which positively correlates with resistance to parasitoid attack). Taken together, these results suggest that the aphids can either invest in defence (parasitoid resistance, increased off-plant survival time) or reproduction, and speculate that this may be mediated by changes in the aphids' endosymbiont fauna. Furthermore, there is a positive relationship between aphid size and resistance, suggesting that successful resistance to parasitoid attack may involve physical, as well as physiological, defences.