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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY BASED TECHNIQUES TO LIMIT THE DISPERSAL OF INVASIVE PESTS

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

Title: Survey for Egg Parasitoids Attacking Cactoblastis Cactorum in North Florida

Authors
item Paraiso, Oulimathe - FAMU
item Kairo, Moses T.K. - FAMU
item Bloem, Stephanie - USDA-ARS-APHIS
item Hight, Stephen

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 7, 2009
Publication Date: March 28, 2009
Citation: Paraiso, O., Kairo, M., Bloem, S., Hight, S.D. 2009. Survey for egg parasitoids attacking Cactoblastis cactorum in North Florida. Meeting Abstract.

Technical Abstract: Interest in the natural enemies of Cactoblastis cactorum, a cactus moth native from Argentina, has increased since its accidental introduction to Bahia Honda Key, Florida, in October 1989. In 1957, C. cactorum was introduced onto the Caribbean islands of the Greater Antilles to manage the invasive prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.), as part of a classical biological control program. Unfortunately, little concern was given to the potentially injurious environmental impacts of the insect, if it was to move into the U.S. Previous surveys for natural enemies in Argentina, identified egg parasitoids from the family Trichogrammatidae as potentially important. Parasitoids in this family have been widely used in inundative biological control programs. In an effort to identify egg parasitoids already established in North Florida which might be used in such a program against C. cactorum, surveys were undertaken at 3 locations from July to December 2009. A sample of 20 to 30 of healthy plants with none to minor larval feeding damage, and a maximum average of 50 pads per plant were chosen at each site. The fate of previously identified individual egg sticks was determined during weekly visits to each site to evaluate their status. The fates of egg sticks included the following outcomes: successful hatch, lost (disappearance without trace), predation (visible chewing damage), and parasitism (black eggs), or collection (for laboratory study). This method was successful in identifying egg parasitoids of C. Cactorum and assessing the level of parasitism. The key egg parasitoid found was Trichogramma pretiosum. The Trichogramma wasp is easily mass reared in laboratory conditions and also available commercially. Therefore, it could be used as a potential biological control agent against C. cactorum.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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