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Published in Oikos 95:3 (December 2001), pp. 425–430; doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0706.2001.950307.x Issued by the Nordic Ecological Society; copyright OIKOS; published by Wiley-Blackwell. Used by permission.


Sugar consumption can increase the longevity and lifetime fecundity of many species of parasitic wasps. Consequently, for these insects the availability of sugar sources in the field is important for their reproductive success. As sugar sources can be highly variable in quantity, space and time, the chances of finding a sufficient amount of sugar to increase longevity might be very low. Therefore, the reward from a single feeding event can be critical for the forager’s fitness. We measured the longevity of the parasitoid Cotesia rubecula after a single honey meal differing in sugar concentration (25, 47, 86% w/w) and timing (day of emergence and 24 h later). Survival was analyzed with Cox’s Proportional Hazards Model. The risk of starving to death in sugar-fed wasps was reduced by 0–73% in comparison to unfed wasps, depending on sugar concentration and timing. Longevity was significantly increased by sugar concentration and by feeding later in life. Our results suggest that in the field, adult C. rubecula has to locate food at least once per day to avoid starvation.

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