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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of Host-Searching and Ovipositional Behavior of Cardiochiles Nigriceps Viereck (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a Parasitoid of Heliothis Virescens (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), in Tobacco and Cotton


Submitted to: Journal of Insect Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 2, 2003
Publication Date: July 1, 2003
Citation: Tillman, P.G., Mullinix, Jr., B.G. 2003. Comparison of host-searching and ovipositional behavior of Cardiochiles nigriceps Viereck (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a parasitoid of Heliothis virescens (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), in tobacco and cotton. Journal of Insect Behavior. 16(4):555-569.

Interpretive Summary: Populations of tobacco budworms can reach economically damaging levels in cotton. Cardiochiles nigriceps is a parasitic wasp that can contribute substantially to the biological control of larvae of the tobacco budworm in cotton and tobacco. In this study, the behavior of females of this parasitic wasp was observed for tobacco budworms on cotton and tobacco plants. For experienced Cardiochiles nigriceps females, parasitization of tobacco budworms by this parasitic wasp was similar in tobacco and cotton. This data shows that tobacco can serve as a trap for the tobacco budworm as well as a natural reservoir source for this parasitic wasp in cotton.

Technical Abstract: To compare searching and ovipositional behavior of Cardiochiles nigriceps Viereck in tobacco and cotton, the behavior of females of this parasitoid was observed on host-infested plants and recorded using a Psion Organizer II with Observer software. Heliothis virescens (F.) larvae were used as hosts for these parasitoids. Naive C. nigriceps females preferred to oviposit in H. virescens larvae on tobacco over cotton for only the first 1800 s after being exposed to hosts on both plants. For experienced C. nigriceps females, the number of searches/h, the number of ovipositions/h, and search time/oviposition were the same for cotton and tobacco. Thus searching efficiency of this parasitoid was similar in tobacco and cotton.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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