Present Status of Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) in the Mariana Islands and Its Control by Two Fortuitously Introduced Natural Enemies

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The mealybug Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), attacks ornamental and fruit crops in the Mariana Islands. Insecticides cannot penetrate the heavy layers of wax that protect the insect’s body. We surveyed the mealybug’s locally recruited natural enemies and their effects on its population on Guam, Rota, Saipan, and Tinian to assess the need for introduction of exotic natural enemies. We monitored population densities of M. hirsutus, those of its natural enemies, and parasitism rates for 3 yr, 2005–2007. Our surveys revealed the presence of two parasitoids, Anagyrus kamali Moursi (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) and Allotropa sp. near mecrida (Walker) (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae), fortuitously introduced to the Mariana Islands with M. hirsutus. The predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mulsant (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) also was often found feeding on M. hirsutus. Population density of M. hirsutus was below the economic threshold at all locations. Rainfall seemed to affect mean numbers of M. hirsutus and mean numbers of eggs at some locations. On all four islands, the two parasitoids, complemented by the predator, were effectively controlling the M. hirsutus population. No evidence of hyperparasitism was recorded. Currently, economic damage by M. hirsutus is not a concern in the Mariana Islands, and additional parasitoids need not be introduced to control M. hirsutus.

Keywords: Allotropa sp. near mecrida; Anagyrus kamali; Hibiscus rosa-sinensis; Maconellicoccus hirsutus; Mariana Islands

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • 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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