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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Developmental time, longevity, and lifetime fertility of three introduced parasitoids of the mealybug Paracoccus marginatus (Hemiptera: Pseudoccidae)

item Amarasekare, K
item Mannion, C
item Epsky, Nancy

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/17/2012
Publication Date: 10/1/2012
Citation: Amarasekare, K.G., Mannion, C.M., Epsky, N.D. 2012. Developmental time, longevity, and lifetime fertility of three introduced parasitoids of the mealybug Paracoccus marginatus (Hemiptera: Pseudoccidae). Biological Control. 41:1184-1189.

Interpretive Summary: Three species of parasitoid wasps were introduced into south Florida in 2003 as biological control agents for the papaya mealybug, a threat to numerous agricultural products in the US. There is little information on biology or life history of these parasitoids, information that is important when evaluating their effectiveness for biological control of the target pest. Therefore, research was conducted by scientists at SHRS in collaboration with scientists at the University of Florida to determine the developmental time, longevity, and lifetime fertility of these three parasitoids under laboratory conditions. For all three species, males developed faster than females, and both males and females developed faster in adult mealybugs than in immature mealybugs. Adults of one species lived longer than adults of the other two species, and the species with the shortest longevity produced the fewest eggs. These results will be used by scientists, pest control operators and regulatory agencies to understand further the biological control potential for these parasitoid wasps, and to optimize their use for population suppression of this pest.

Technical Abstract: Developmental time, longevity, and lifetime fertility of three previously introduced parasitoids (Acerophagus papayae Noyes and Schauff, Anagyrus loecki Noyes and Menezes, and Pseudleptomastix mexicana Noyes and Schauff) (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) of the mealybug Paracoccus marginatus Williams and Granara de Willink (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) were studied in the laboratory. The developmental time of both male and female A. papayae and A. loecki was shorter than the developmental time of male and female P. mexicana. Male parasitoids of all three species had a shorter developmental time than their females. All parasitoids had a shorter developmental time in adult-female mealybugs than in second instars. Mating status (unmated and mated) had no effect on the male longevity. Unmated and mated females that were not allowed to oviposit had similar longevity and lived longer than those that were allowed to oviposit. Virgin females produced male only progeny with higher number of males from A. loecki or P. mexicana than from A. papayae. The number of females and the cumulative progeny were smaller for A. papayae than for A. loecki or P. mexicana. All species had similar progeny sex ratios (~1:1 male:female). Acerophagus papayae had the shortest reproductive period followed by A. loecki and P. mexicana, respectively. This information is important in evaluating the efficiency of A. papayae, A. loecki, and P. mexicana and understanding the outcome of their recovery and establishment in field studies conducted in Florida.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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