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Seasonal patterns of egg parasitism and natural biological control of rice brown planthopper in Indonesia

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1 Egg mortality is known to be an important factor in brown planthopper (BPH) (Nilaparvata lugens) population dynamics in tropical Asia, but few quantitative data are available on the role of egg parasitoids.

2 Field studies are reported at two sites in Java, Indonesia, over a period of 4 years in both wet and dry seasons, where no chemical pesticides were used. Rice plants previously infested in the laboratory with BPH eggs were exposed to natural parasitism and predation in experimental fields for periods of 5 days.

3 Egg batches were dissected from both experimental and control plants after field exposure at seven fortnightly intervals through the rice growing season and BPH nymphs and adult parasitoids were allowed to emerge.

4 Parasitism by species of Oligosita (Hymenopera, Trichogrammatidae) and Anagrus (Hym., Mymaridae) varied between 18% and 61% in dry, and from 1% to 65% in wet, seasons. There was generally a trend from low to higher rates through wet seasons, contrasting with more uniform higher levels through dry seasons.

5 Reduction in BPH survival as a result of egg parasitism varied between 29% and 91%. Generally parasitism was density independent.

6 It is suggested that lower initial levels of parasitism in dry seasons may be due to the longer fallow period between dry and wet, than between wet and dry, resulting in lower local populations of appropriate natural enemies.

7 Unlike previous studies in Asia, little evidence was found for egg predation as an important mortality factor.

8 The conservation of egg parasitoids should form part of any rice pest management programmes in tropical Asia.

Keywords: Anagrus; Nilaparvata lugens; Oligosita; biological control; brown planthopper; egg parasitisam; rice

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, PO Box 915, Cardiff CF1 3TL, Wales, U.K. and 2: Bogor Research Institute for Food Crops, PO Box 368, Boo, Bogor, Indonesia

Publication date: November 1, 1999


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