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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Using the Literature to Evaluate Parasitoid Host Ranges: a Case Study of Macrocentrus Grandii (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) Introduced into North America to Control Ostrinia Nubilalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae)

item DE Nardo, Elizabeth - EMBRAPA, BRAZIL
item Hopper, Keith

Submitted to: Biocontrol
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 8, 2004
Publication Date: November 20, 2004
Repository URL:
Citation: De Nardo, E., Hopper, K.R. 2004. Using the literature to evaluate parasitoid host ranges: a case study of macrocentrus grandii (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) introduced into North America to control Ostrinia nubilalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Biocontrol. 31(3) 280-295.

Interpretive Summary: Although biological control of insects pests and weeds by introduction of exotic natural enemies appears to have been a relatively efficient and safe strategy for the last hundred years, concerns about undocumented adverse effects on non-target species have mounted during the last decade. The primary tool for evaluating the risk of non-target impacts has been host range testing. However, such testing may be very expensive for insects being introduced to control insect pests. We suggest a way of using both positive and negative evidence on host use from the published literature to evaluate host ranges of candidates for biocontrol introductions. We test this method with a retrospective case study on a parasitic wasp introduced to control European corn borer. The method works well for this introduction, but must be tested with a variety of other sorts of parasitic wasps to determine how widely applicable it is.

Technical Abstract: We propose a method for using the literature to evaluate host ranges of parasitoids which are candidates for introduction. Data on the parasitoids which attack a given host species can be used as negative evidence concerning attack by the candidate whose host range one wants to evaluate. By compiling studies for a variety of host species, one can at least delineate those taxa unlikely to be attacked by the candidate. Using a retrospective case study of a parasitoid introduced into North America, we describe (1) how the literature can be used to evaluate pre-introduction host range and predict post-introduction host range and (2) how well predictions based on such an evaluation match actual host range. Based on the host range of Macrocentrus grandii in Eurasia as reported in the literature, we predicted that species in the genus Ostrinia are the most likely hosts. Of native North American species, Ostrinia obumbratalis is the only non-target species likely to be attacked by M. grandii. The predicted host range for North America matched the actual host range found in the field. This suggests that a careful literature review could be used as the main source of data on host range of parasitoid species proposed for introduction into a new environment.

Last Modified: 4/18/2015
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