13.2. Prey/host acceptance and manipulation

During foraging, there are some similarities in location of prey by a predator and of the host by a parasitoid or parasite. When contact is made with the potential prey or host, its acceptability must be established, by checking the identity, size, and age of the prey/host. For example, many parasitoids reject old larvae, which are close to pupation. Chemical and tactile stimuli are involved in specific identification and in subsequent behaviors including biting, ingestion, and continuance of feeding. Chemoreceptors on the antennae and ovipositor of parasitoids are vital in chemically detecting host suitability and exact location.

Different manipulations follow acceptance: the predator attempts to eat suitable prey, whereas parasitoids and parasites exhibit a range of behaviors regarding their hosts. A parasitoid either oviposits (or larviposits) directly or subdues and may carry the host elsewhere, for instance to a nest, prior to the offspring developing within or on it. An ectoparasite needs to gain a hold and obtain a meal. The different behavioral and morphological modifications associated with prey and host manipulation are covered in separate sections below, from the perspectives of predator, parasitoid, and parasite.

Chapter 13