Age and diet influence the composition of venom from the endoparasitic wasp Pimpla turionellae L. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae)

Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2006 Dec;63(4):177-87. doi: 10.1002/arch.20154.


Venom from the endoparasitic wasp Pimpla turionellae L. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) was found to contain a complex mixture of biogenic amines, noradrenalin, phospholipase B, and several proteins and peptides. The amount of noradrenalin and serotonin was found to be highest in venom from newly emerged wasps and decreased with age. Histamine was detected in minute amounts in comparison to the other venom components, and declined with increasing age of the parasitoids. Total peptides and proteins detected by reversed-phase HPLC increased with host age. Old-aged (30-33 days after emergence) wasps contained 2-fold more phospholipase B than young (<10 days [d] old) or medium-aged (10-22-d-old) females. Increases in phospholipase B alone, however, did not account for all changes in total venom protein because by 40 days after emergence, the levels of this enzyme began to decline while the amount of total protein was higher than in younger wasps. For all venom components detected, the amount present in the venom sharply decreased following host exposure. This was presumed to be the result of venom depletion associated with envenomation. Consistent with this view were the modest increases in venom components in wasps displaying a decreased rate of parasitization. When adult females were offered honey alone or in combination with feeding on hosts, no significant changes in venom composition were observed, with the exception of noradrenalin, which was found to be 5 times higher in concentration in wasps fed honey only. These results suggest that wasp age and incidence of parasitism are more important features influencing the composition of venom than the diet of adult females.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Histamine / metabolism
  • Honey
  • Hymenoptera / metabolism*
  • Lysophospholipase / metabolism
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Wasp Venoms / metabolism*


  • Wasp Venoms
  • Histamine
  • Lysophospholipase
  • Norepinephrine