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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluation of Host Plants and a Meridic Diet for Rearing Maconellicoccus Hirsutus (Hemiptera: Pseudicoccidae) and Its Parasitoid Anagyrus Kamali(hymenoptera: Encyrtidae).

Authors
item Serrano, Miguel
item Lapointe, Stephen

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 12, 2002
Publication Date: September 1, 2002
Citation: Serrano, M.S., Lapointe, S.L. 2002. Evaluation of host plants and a meridic diet for rearing maconellicoccus hirsutus (hemiptera: pseudicoccidae) and its parasitoid anagyrus kamali hymenoptera: encyrtidae). Florida Entomologist.

Interpretive Summary: USDA, APHIS and USDA, ARS are collaborating in the production and release of biological control agents such as the parasitoid Anagyrus kamali that are controlling the invasive pink hibiscus mealybug Maconellicoccus hirsutus throughout the Caribbean and Central America. Because of difficulties in acquiring a continuous supply of host plants for rearing the mealybug and its parasitoid, we compared several potential host plants and a simple artificial diet Japanese pumpkins and sprouted potatoes are the most common substrates used to rear the mealybug. Acorn squash, prickly pear, and 'chayote' were compared to Japanese pumpkins and sprouted potatoes. Also, a simple artificial diet based on canned pumpkins and sugar was tested. Mealybugs developed at the same rates and with the same reproductive parameters on acorn squash as on the control substrates. On prickly pear and chayote, developmental rates were slower and fewer total eggs and viable eggs were obtained. Although several generations were completed on the artificial diet, life cycle and reproductive parameters obtained preclude recommendation for mass producing mealybugs without further refinements. Parasitoids produced from mealybugs reared on acorn squash were very similar to those produced on the two traditional hosts. This paper clarifies aspects of the biology of the pink mealybug in the Caribbean and provides alternatives for mass rearing the mealybug and its parasitoids during times of scarcity of Japanese pumpkins and sprouted potatoes.

Technical Abstract: Biological control agents including the parasitoid Anagyrus kamali are controlling the invasive pink hibiscus mealybug Maconellicoccus hirsutus in the Caribbean. Release of this and other parasitoids is seasonally affected by availability of laboratory mealybug colonies as host for parasitoid production. Japanese pumpkins and sprouted potatoes are the most common substrates used to rear the mealybug. Field production of Japanese pumpkins can be severely affected by environmental conditions, and continuous production of sprouted potatoes is expensive and laborious. Experiments were conducted on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to find alternative rearing substrates for pink hibiscus mealybug and its parasitoid. Acorn squash, prickly pear, and chayote were compared to Japanese pumpkins and sprouted potatoes. We also developed a simple artificial diet based on canned pumpkins and sugar. Mealybugs developed at the same rates and with the same reproductive parameters on acorn squash as on the control substrates. On prickly pear and chayote, developmental rates were slower and fewer eggs were obtained. Although several generations were completed on artificial diet, life cycle and reproductive parameters obtained preclude recommendation for mass- producing mealybugs without further refinements. Parasitoids produced from mealybugs reared on acorn squash were similar to those produced on the traditional hosts. A relationship was established between the quality of the mealybugs and the quality of the parasitoids. This paper clarifies aspects of the biology of pink mealybug in the Caribbean and provides alternatives for mass rearing the mealybug and its parasitoids during times of scarcity of Japanese pumpkins and sprouted potatoes.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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