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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biologically-based Technologies for Management of Crop Insect Pests in Local and Areawide Programs

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: The roles of parasitoid foraging for hosts, food and mates in the augmentative control of Tephritidae

item Sivinski, John
item Aluja, Martin

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/25/2012
Publication Date: 7/20/2012
Citation: Sivinski, J.M., Aluja, M. 2012. The roles of parasitoid foraging for hosts, food and mates in the augmentative control of Tephritidae . Insects. 3(3):668-691.

Interpretive Summary: Fruit flies attack hundreds of species of fruits and vegetables and are responsible for trade restrictions wherever they occur. Mass-rearing and releasing large numbers of their natural enemies, small wasps that consume the maggots, is a efficient means of suppressing fruit fly populations and information on their environmental preferences and behaviors can help program managers design and then carry out area-wide control measures. Scientists at the USDA-Agriculture Research Service, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, in long-term collaboration with colleagues at the Instituto de Ecologia, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, have studied how these wasps locate their hosts, food and mates. This body of work and that of others is reviewed and numerous suggestions are made on how to apply this knowledge in agricultural settings.

Technical Abstract: Ultimately, the success of augmentative fruit fly biological control depends upon the survival, dispersal, attack rate and multi-generational persistence of mass-reared parasitoids in the field. Foraging for hosts, food and mates is fundamental to the above and, at an operational level, to the choice of the parasitoid best suited to control a particular tephritid in a certain environment, release rate estimates and subsequent monitoring of effectiveness. In the following we review landscape-level and microhabitat foraging preferences, host/fruit ranges, orientation through environmental cues, host vulnerabilities/ovipositor structures, and inter and intraspecific competition. We also consider tephritid parasitoid mating systems and sexual signals, and suggest the directions of future research.

Last Modified: 07/21/2017
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