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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Newark, Delaware » Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #340012

Research Project: Host Specificity and Systematics of Insect Biological Control Agents

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit

Title: Host specificity of Aphelinus species collected from soybean aphid in Asia

item Hopper, Keith
item Lanier, Kathryn
item Rhoades, Joshua
item Hoelmer, Kim
item Meikle, William
item HEIMPEL, GEORGE - University Of Minnesota
item O'NEIL, ROBERT - Purdue University
item VOETGLIN, DAVID - Illinois Natural History Survey
item WOOLLEY, JAMES - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/8/2017
Publication Date: 9/13/2017
Citation: Hopper, K.R., Lanier, K., Rhoades, J.H., Hoelmer, K.A., Meikle, W.G., Heimpel, G.E., O'Neil, R.J., Voetglin, D.G., Woolley, J.B. 2017. Host specificity of Aphelinus species collected from soybean aphid in Asia. Biological Control. 115:55-73.

Interpretive Summary: The soybean aphid, APHIS GLYCINES, is a pest from Asia that has invaded the USA and become a major pest of soybean. A project was initiated to find, evaluate, and introduce parasitic wasps from Asia into North America to control this pest. Experiments on the host ranges of seven species of parasitic wasps that are candidates for introduction against the soybean aphid showed that two species, APHELINUS GLYCINIS and APHELINUS RHAMNI, had very narrow host ranges restricted to some species in the aphid genus APHIS, and especially to the soybean aphid. The specificity of these wasps can be explained largely by differences in their behavior when they encounter different aphid species. APHELINUS GLYCINIS and A. RHAMNI are an excellent candidates for introduction into the USA to control the soybean aphid.

Technical Abstract: The soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is native to Asia where it is an occasional pest of soybean, Glycine max (L.). Aphis glycines was found during 2000 in North America and since then has spread throughout much of the area where soybean is grown. In Asia, A. glycines seldom reaches damaging levels; however in the North America, it has become the most important insect pest of soybean, decreasing yields and incurring large control costs. Field surveys and exclosure experiments in China showed that natural enemies can limit soybean aphid abundance. A project to find, evaluate, and introduce Asian natural enemies into North America was initiated in 2001, with an emphasis on parasitoids. To ensure that introductions of exotic parasitoids would have minimum impact on non-target species, we tested host specificity of all candidates for introduction. Here we report results on host specificity of 13 populations in seven species from three species complexes in the genus Aphelinus (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae). In no-choice laboratory experiments, four species had broad host ranges and one species had an intermediate host range. However, two species, Aphelinus glycinis and Aphelinus rhamni, had narrow host ranges, being restricted to some species in the genus Aphis. We report the results of experiments on the mechanisms of the host specificity of the three parasitoid species with intermediate to narrow host ranges. Most of this host specificity can be explained by differences in the behavior of females when they encountered different aphid species. Females of these species rarely approached, stung, oviposited or host fed on aphids outside the genus Aphis. Even within the genus Aphis, Aphelinus glycinis and Aphelinus rhamni parasitized primarily Aphis glycines and closely related species. From these results, we conclude that Aphelinus glycinis and Aphelinus rhamni are excellent candidates for introduction into the North America to control Aphis glycines.