About this Research Topic
Biological control using parasitoids has received increased attention as it is cost effective and offers a management strategy that safeguards human health and the environment. In addition, insect parasitoids are, in many cases, a significant component of integrated pest management systems.
Insect parasitoids develop as parasites of other arthropods, ultimately leading to their death or sterility. A parasitoids’ reproductive success and their efficiency thus lies in their ability to counter behavioral and immune defenses of their hosts. These processes are shaped by co-evolution, which may explain changes in host range and the existence of host races within parasitoid species. Parasitoids may appear generalists, but careful ecological studies reveal a hidden complexity with an assemblage of populations having more restricted host ranges. Understanding the ecology and the evolutionary processes of parasitoids will enhance our knowledge of how these biological control agents can be used for the advancement of an integrated pest management.
This Research Topic will include studies aimed at elucidating ecological and evolutionary aspects of parasitoids. In particular, studies that include parasitoids adaptation to their local host community (for example genetic structure and host specialization), as well as the ecology and/or evolution of:
- Virulence genes in host acceptance by parasitoids;
- Sensory mechanisms in host acceptance by parasitoids;
- Host-range in parasitoids;
- Parasitoids’ biology and physiology in a context of climate change (including studies on the influence of climate change in host-parasitoid co-evolution).
The emphasis will also be on the implication of such studies for the use of parasitoids in biological control programs. Original papers, perspectives as well as mini-reviews are welcome.
Keywords: Biology, physiology, behavior, arthropods, biological control
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