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Suitability of Listronotus maculicollis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) as a Host for Microctonus hyperodae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)

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Microctonus hyperodae Loan is an effective parasitoid against Listronotus bonariensis (Kuschel) in New Zealand. To determine the potential for M. hyperodae as a biological control agent for L. maculicollis Dietz, live specimens were imported to a quarantine facility in New Zealand. A series of experiments examined the suitability of 3 South American geographic populations (ecotypes) of M. hyperodae in terms of parasitism rates, prepupal emergence, and development times compared with the natural host, L. bonariensis. Limited development occurred in L. maculicollis by all 3 ecotypes, but parasitism rate was significantly lower than in L. bonariensis. Comparison with a related parasitoid showed higher rates of prepupal emergence from L. maculicollis for M. aethiopoides Loan than for M. hyperodae. The presence of annual bluegrass, Poa annua, in the test arena and prior experience on L. maculicollis increased parasitism rate significantly when a combination of L. maculicollis and L. bonariensis were exposed to M. hyperodae. The low rate of successful prepupal emergence by M. hyperodae in L. maculicollis was attributed in part to a physiological response by L. maculicollis which led to encapsulation of the developing parasitoid egg and larva. Based on these results, M. hyperodae probably would not be a suitable biological control agent of L. maculicollis in the United States because of the low rates of parasitism observed under laboratory conditions and delayed development times compared with those in the natural host, L. bonariensis. M. aethiopoides is more successful in parasitizing and developing in L. maculicollis, but this parasitoid also exhibited significantly lower levels of parasitism compared with L. bonariensis, although development times were comparable. Furthermore, M. aethiopoides used in these trials probably originated in North Africa and may not be suited to a northeastern United States climate.

Keywords: Listronotus bonariensis; Listronotus maculicollis; Microctonus aethiopoides; Microctonus hyperodae; biological control; host suitability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1999

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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