Effects of Host Size and Parasite Burden on Sex Ratio in the Mosquito Parasite Octomyomermis muspratti


  • J. J. Petersen


The ratio of Octomyomermis muspratti to the host mosquito at the time of exposure had little effect on the ratio of male to female parasites that resulted. However, the ratio of males to females increased as the number of parasites/host increased. Hosts with a single nematode produced fewer than 1% males in comparison with hosts with 8 parasites which produced about 40% males; hosts with 10 or more nematodes generally produced more male than female nematodes. Males of O. muspratti usually emerged before females because of the earlier death of multiply-infected mosquitoes. The size of the host at the time of invasion bad no significant influence on nematode sex ratios. Since mating is apparently necessary for reproduction in O. muspratti, the low male to female ratios that occur will be important in developing successful mass production techniques. Key Words: sex ratios, Mermithidae biological control, parasitism, mass production.