University of Oulu

Mutanen, M., Ovaskainen, O., Várkonyi, G., Itämies, J., Prosser, S.W.J., Hebert, P.D.N. and Hanski, I. (2020), Dynamics of a host–parasitoid interaction clarified by modelling and DNA sequencing. Ecol Lett, 23: 851-859. doi:

Dynamics of a host–parasitoid interaction clarified by modelling and DNA sequencing

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Author: Mutanen, Marko1; Ovaskainen, Otso2,3; Várkonyi, Gergely4;
Organizations: 1Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, FI‐90014 Finland, Oulu
2Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, University of Helsinki, FI‐00014 Finland, Helsinki
3Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, N‐7491 Trondheim, Norway
4Friendship Park Research Centre, Finnish Environment Institute, FI‐88900 Kuhmo, Finland
5Kaitoväylä 25 A 6, 90570 Oulu, Finland
6Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1 Canada
7Department of Biosciences, Metapopulation Research Center, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-05-26


It has been hypothesised that the 2‐year oscillations in abundance of Xestia moths are mediated by interactions with 1‐year Ophion parasitoid wasps. We tested this hypothesis by modelling a 35‐year time series of Xestia and Ophion from Northern Finland. Additionally, we used DNA barcoding to ascertain the species diversity of Ophion and targeted amplicon sequencing of their gut contents to confirm their larval hosts. Modelling of the time‐series data strongly supported the hypothesised host–parasitoid dynamics and that periodic occurrence of Xestia moths is mediated by Ophion. DNA barcodes revealed that Ophion included five species rather than just one while targeted amplicon sequencing verified that Ophion does parasitise Xestia. At least one Ophion species employs 1‐year Syngrapha interrogationis as an alternate host, but it did not detectably affect Xestia–Ophion dynamics. We also demonstrate the previously unrecognised complexity of this system due to cryptic parasitoid diversity.

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Series: Ecology letters
ISSN: 1461-023X
ISSN-E: 1461-0248
ISSN-L: 1461-023X
Volume: 23
Issue: 5
Pages: 851 - 859
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13486
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This study was enabled by support from the Academy of Finland (Grant 284601 to IH, Grant 309581 to OO and Grant 277984 to MM), the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation (Grant to OO), and the Research Council of Norway through its Centres of Excellence Funding Scheme (223257) to OO via the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics. Sequence analyses were largely covered by a Discovery grant to PDNH from NSERC.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 277984
Detailed Information: 277984 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by CNRS and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.