Stanislav Korenko
Dictyna arundinacea (Linnaeus, 1758) ES
Dictyna uncinata Thorell, 1856 ES
Nigma flavescens (Walckenaer, 1830) ES
Nigma walckenaeri (Roewer, 1951) ES

The spatial distribution of parasitoids is closely linked to the distribution and ecological requirements of their hosts. Several studies have documented changes in the fauna composition of parasitoids in response to elevation, but data on parasitoids associated with spiders are missing. The koinobiont ichneumonid wasp Zatypota anomala is strictly specialised on spiders of the genus Dictyna (Dictynidae) in Europe. We examined the distribution of spiders of the family Dictynidae in forest ecotones in central Europe across a broad elevation gradient (110–1466 m a.s.l.). We checked the spiders for parasitism by Z. anomala. It was most abundant at the mid-elevations (median 712 m a.s.l., range 179–870 m a.s.l.). We identified four dictynid spider species as Z. anomala hosts. These were Dictyna arundinacea, Dictyna uncinata, Nigma flavescens, and Nigma walckenaeri. All four species and the genus Nigma were recorded as hosts for the first time. The parasitoids strongly preferred juvenile instars of their hosts. The body length differed between parasitised Dictyna and Nigma spiders (medians: 1.95 mm and 2.55 mm, respectively). The distribution of Dictyna and Nigma spiders overlapped along the elevation gradient, but parasitism incidence significantly differed between spider genera along the elevation gradient. Nigma was parasitized at lower elevations between 179–254 m a.s.l. and Dictyna at higher elevations between 361–870 m a.s.l. The phenology of Z. anomala is closely tied to the univoltine life strategy of its host spiders. The parasitoid female oviposits in autumn, and its offspring overwinter as larvae on the host, reach adulthood during spring, and pass the summer as an adult.

Korenko S., Sýkora J., Černecká Ľ., Gajdoš P., Purgat P., Černecký J., Holý K., Heneberg P. & Agnarsson I. (2022): Elevation gradient affects the distribution and host utilisation of Zatypota anomala (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae) associated with mesh web weaving spiders (Araneae, Dictynidae). J. Hymenopt. Res. 93: 89–100. DOI: 10.3897/jhr.93.91513