Rate of development of predatory insects is dependent on that of their prey


  • Anthony F.G. Dixon Department of Biodiversity Research, Global Change Research Centre AS CR, Na Sádkách 7, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ
  • Alois Honěk Crop Research Institute, Drnovská 507, 161 06 Prague 6 – Ruzynĕ, Czech Republic




In this study we analyzed data in the literature on the rates of development of parasitoids that parasitize aphids and coccids. The objective was to determine whether their rates of development, as is well documented for ladybirds, are also dependent on that of their prey. The analysis revealed that, like ladybirds, parasitoids that parasitize aphids develop faster than those that parasitize coccids. Parasitoids and ladybird predators show the same pattern in their rates of development: those attacking aphids develop faster than those attacking coccids. This is strong evidence that we are dealing with a general response rather than one specific to ladybirds. It also lends support to the concept that the development rates of these natural enemies are evolutionarily conserved rather than phylogenetically constrained.