Parasitoids are insects whose larvae develop by feeding on the bodies of other arthropods, usually insects, but also spiders and centipedes.

Keywords: coevolution; specialization; Hymenoptera

Figure 1.

The hymenopteran parasitoid Megastigmus stigmatizans (Torymidae). Note the long ovipositor. Reproduced with permission from Stone G and Csóka G (eds) Oak Gallwasps of the Western Palearctic. London: Ray Society, Natural History Museum (in preparation).



Beckage NE (1998) Modulation of immune responses to parasitoids by polydnaviruses. Parasitology 116: S57–S64.

Bonsall MB and Hassell MP (1997) Apparent competition structures ecological assemblages. Nature 388: 371–373.

Gauld ID and Gaston KJ (1994) The taste of enemy free space: parasitoids and nasty hosts. In: Hawkins BA and Sheehan W (eds) Parasitoid Community Ecology, pp. 279–299. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Godfray HCJ (1994) Parasitoids: Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Hassell MP, Comins HN and May RM (1991) Spatial structure and chaos in insect population dynamics. Nature 353: 255–258.

Hawkins BA (1994) Pattern and Process in Host–Parasitoid Interactions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jones TH, Hassell MP and May RM (1994) Population dynamics of host–parasitoid interactions. In: Hawkins BA and Sheehan W (eds) Parasitoid Community Ecology, pp. 371–396. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kraaijeveld AR, VanAlphen JJM and Godfray HCJ (1998) The coevolution of host resistance and parasitoid virulence. Parasitology 116: S29–S45.

Memmott J and Godfray HCJ (1994) The use and construction of parasitoid webs. In: Hawkins BA and Sheehan W (eds) Parasitoid Community Ecology, pp. 300–318. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

West SA, Cook JM, Werren JH and Godfray HCJ (1998) Wolbachia in two insect host–parasitoid communities. Molecular Ecology 7: 1457–1465.

Further Reading

Godfray HCJ and Shimada M (eds) (1999) Parasitoids: a model system to answer questions in behavioral, evolutionary and population ecology. Researches on Population Ecology 41: 1–126.

Hassell MP and Godfray HCJ (1992) The population biology of insect parasitoids. In: Crawley MJ (ed.) Natural Enemies, pp. 265–292. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific.

Hawkins BA and Sheehan W (eds) (1994) Parasitoid Community Ecology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Waage JK and Greathead D (eds) (1986) Insect Parasitoids. London: Academic Press.

Werren JH (1997) Biology of Wolbachia. Annual Review of Entomology 42: 587–609.

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How to Cite close
West, Stuart A(Apr 2001) Parasitoids. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003157]