1. Individual fitness is often assumed to be positively correlated with body size, but this has rarely been explored under realistic field conditions. This assumption was tested in a minute parasitoid foraging for planthopper eggs in saltmarsh habitats. 2. We used a novel sampling technique that captures females as they naturally die and fall off the vegetation, and estimated their oviposition success according to the number of eggs remaining in their bodies. 3. Our results support a positive relationship between oviposition success and body size of female parasitoids. 4. Only a single female had exhausted her eggs before she died suggesting that the larger body size advantage is not realised primarily via increased fecundity, but instead via increased longevity or foraging-efficiency.
- Proovigenic parasitoids
- Size-fitness relationship