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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Systematics of Parasitic and Herbivorous Wasps of Agricultural Importance

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: First report of an egg parasitoid reared from Neomusotima conspurcatalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) a biological control agent of Lygodium microphyllum (Polypodiales: Lygodiaceae)

Author
item Lake, Ellen
item Gates, Michael
item Smith, Melissa
item Witkus, Gloria
item Pratt, Paul

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2015
Publication Date: 12/7/2015
Citation: Lake, E., Gates, M.W., Smith, M., Witkus, G., Pratt, P. 2015. First report of an egg parasitoid reared from Neomusotima conspurcatalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) a biological control agent of Lygodium microphyllum (Polypodiales: Lygodiaceae). Florida Entomologist. 98:(4):1244-1246.

Interpretive Summary: Parasitic wasps are often instrumental in providing biological control of insect pests of agricultural and horticultural crops. However, in some cases these wasps may have an antagonistic effect in attacking a biological control agent released to control some pest, often an invasive plant. In this paper, we report on a species of wasp that attacks the eggs of a moth released to control an invasive plant in Florida . This is the first report of any parasitic wasp attacking the eggs of a member of this genus of moth.

Technical Abstract: Old World climbing fern, Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br (Polypodiales: Lygodiaceae), is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World. It escaped cultivation in Florida and was first reported as naturalized in 1965. Lygodium microphyllum is now widespread in wetland and mesic habitats in south and central Florida, with several isolated populations in north Florida. This aggressive indeterminate vine can climb 20 meters or more into trees and can also extend horizontally, smothering native vegetation, and reducing plant diversity and ecosystem servicesThe rapid spread of L. microphyllum, its impact on native communities, and lack of effective long-term control using conventional management techniques prompted the start of a classical biological control program in 1997. The ongoing search for potential biological control agents has focused on Asia and Australia eleases of N. conspurcatalis began in 2008 and large populations developed quickly at some sites causing “brown out” events where heavy defoliation by the larvae caused large areas of L. microphyllum to turn brown. Native predators and parasitoids within the introduced range of a biological control agent often find and attack the agent, a novel resource. Biotic interference or resistance can decrease the efficacy of a biological control agent, and may even prevent biological control agents from establishing in the introduced range Here we report the first egg parasitoid reared from N. conspurcatalis in its introduced range: Trichogramma sp. In fact, this is the first recorded egg parasitoid for Neomusotima at the generic level, at least for Chalcidoidea.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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