Bertanne Visser

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In nature adult insects, such as parasitic wasps or 'parasitoids' often depend on supplemental nutritional sources, such as sugars and other carbohydrates, to maximize their life-expectancy and reproductive potential. These food resources are commonly obtained from animal secretions or plant exudates, including honeydew, fruit juices and both floral and(More)
Evolutionary loss of traits can result from negative selection on a specific phenotype, or if the trait is selectively neutral, because the phenotype associated with the trait has become redundant. Even essential traits may be lost, however, if the resulting phenotypic deficiencies can be compensated for by the environment or a symbiotic partner. Here we(More)
Loss of traits can dramatically alter the fate of species. Evidence is rapidly accumulating that the prevalence of trait loss is grossly underestimated. New findings demonstrate that traits can be lost without affecting the external phenotype, provided the lost function is compensated for by species interactions. This is important because trait loss can(More)
The ability of organisms to adapt to fluctuating food conditions is essential for their survival and reproduction. Accumulating energy reserves, such as lipids, in anticipation of harsh conditions, will reduce negative effects of a low food supply. For Hymenoptera and Diptera, several parasitoid species lack adult lipogenesis, and are unable to store excess(More)
A reduction in dietary calories has been shown to prolong life span in a wide variety of taxa, but there has been much debate about confounding factors such as nutritional composition of the diet, or reallocation of nutrients from reduced reproduction. To disentangle the contribution of these different mechanisms to extension of life span, we study the(More)
Species belonging to the same guild (i.e. sharing the same resources) can reduce the negative effects of resource competition through niche partitioning. Coexisting species may differ in their resource exploitation and in the associated allocation of nutrients, depending on their resource niche. Trade-offs in nutrient allocation, such as between(More)
Phenotypic regression of morphological, behavioral, or physiological traits can evolve when reduced trait expression has neutral or beneficial effects on overall performance. Studies on the evolution of phenotypic degradation in animals have concentrated mostly on the evaluation of resulting phenotypes, whereas much less research has been dedicated to(More)
Life histories can reveal important information on the performance of individuals within their environment and how that affects evolutionary change. Major trait changes, such as trait decay or loss, may lead to pronounced differences in life history strategies when tight correlations between traits exist. Here, we show that three congeneric hyperparasitoids(More)
Population-wide mating patterns can select for equal parental investment in both sexes, but limiting resources, such as mates or developmental substrates, can increase competition leading to biased sex ratios in favor of either sex. Such competition for resources typically occurs in spatially structured populations, where dispersal is limited. In this(More)
Many animals avoid attack from predators through toxicity or the emission of repellent chemicals. Defensive mimicry has evolved in many species to deceive shared predators, for instance through colouration and other morphological adaptations, but mimicry hardly ever seems to involve multi-trait similarities. Here we report on a wingless parasitoid wasp that(More)