Immunity of an Alternative Host Can Be Overcome by Higher Densities of Its Parasitoids Palmistichus elaeisis and Trichospilus diatraeae
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Interactions of the parasitoids Palmistichus elaeisis Delvare & LaSalle and Trichospilus diatraeae Cherian & Margabandhu (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) with its alternative host Anticarsia gemmatalis (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) affect the success or failure of the mass production of these parasitoids for use in integrated pest management programs. The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in the cellular defense and encapsulation ability of A. gemmatalis pupae against P. elaeisis or T. diatraeae in adult parasitoid densities of 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 or 13 parasitoids/pupae. We evaluated the total quantity of circulating hemocytes and the encapsulation rate versus density. Increasing parasitoid density reduced the total number of hemocytes in the hemolymph and the encapsulation rate by parasitized pupae. Furthermore, densities of P. elaeisis above 5 parasitoids/pupae caused higher reduction in total hemocyte numbers. The encapsulation rate fell with increasing parasitoid density. However, parasitic invasion by both species induced generally similar responses. The reduction in defensive capacity of A. gemmatalis is related to the adjustment of the density of these parasitoids to their development in this host. Thus, the role of the density of P. elaeisis or T. diatraeae by pupa is induced suppression of cellular defense and encapsulation of the host, even without them possesses a co-evolutionary history. Furthermore, these findings can predict the success of P. elaeisis and T. diatraeae in the control of insect pests through the use of immunology as a tool for evaluation of natural enemies.