The Parasitoid research has evolved to encompus a
number of research areas involving a number of different species. We were
among the first to isolate and identify chemicals (kariomones) involved in host
location. We also reported that plants play a major role in host location
of parasitoids of herbivores and have isolated and identified plant
synamones. These studies have continued and include the source and
identification of a number of synamones and kariomones from several species
involved in several levels of the parasitoid tritrophic interrelationship
including some of the receptors involved. We have found that the context
in which the semiochemical are perceived is often essential to the insects
response which is influenced by experience and associative learning.
We discovered that female parasitoids produce and inject substances, including polydna viruses and viral-like particles, that regulate the hosts' development and suppresses the hosts' immune system towards the parasitoid. Studies have included the mechanisms involved in insect immunity and how the parasitoids inhibit or alter the immune response. We have been active in examining the effects of the injected factors on the hosts physiology, and the role that these factors play in the growth of the females progeny. Some parasitoid larvae are associated with teratocytes which we have examined.
Studies have included sexual interactions, competition between species, and developing methods for in vitro rearing.
References on parasitoids by S.B. Vinson