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Multiple host use by the egg parasitoid Trissolcus basalis (Wollaston) in a soybean agricultural system: biological control and environmental implications

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1 Species of bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae and other families) that are parasitized by the egg parasitoid Trissolcus basalis (Wollaston) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) in the soybean agricultural system on the Darling Downs in south-eastern Queensland, Australia, are reported. The degree to which eggs of each bug species are used by T. basalis is quantified, which allows assessment of the role of these alternative host species in the biological control of the green vegetable bug Nezara viridula (L.).

2 Egg masses of nine species of pentatomid bugs and one unidentified bug species were collected. Parasitism rates of egg masses of all species averaged 50–70% but were significantly lower for the more important pest species, including the green vegetable bug, than for some of the agriculturally less important species.

3 Trissolcus basalis emerged from nearly all species collected and was the major parasitoid to emerge from most species. A number of native species were parasitized heavily by T. basalis and parasitism of such species may enhance biological control of the green vegetable bug, but may also pose environmental concerns. Parasitism of predatory bugs by T. basalis may have a negative impact on the biological control of other pests, especially lepidopterous pests.

4 Although the impact of T. basalis on native and predatory host species was not directly quantified, these host species remain abundant and therefore do not appear to be affected adversely by such high rates of parasitism.
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Keywords: Alternative host; Nezara viridula; Trissolcus basalis; biological control; egg parasitoid; environmental safety; host availability; hyperparasitism; non-target host; parasitism rate

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Zoology and Entomology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia

Publication date: 1999-11-01

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