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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #350251

Research Project: Improved Biologically-Based Tactics to Manage Invasive Insect Pests and Weeds

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Complex of primary and secondary parasitoids (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae and Signiphoridae) of Hypogeoccoccus spp. mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) in the New World

Author
item Triapitsyn, Serguei
item Aguirre, Maria
item Logarzo, Guillermo
item Hight, Stephen
item Ciomperlik, Matthew
item Rugman, Jones
item Verle Rodrigues, Jose

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/18/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The Harrisia cactus mealybug (HCM) has become a devastating invasive pest of several native cactus species in the protected dry forest of Puerto Rico. It is critical to identify natural enemies of HCM and assess their potential for use as biological control agents before the cactus forests are destroyed. Scientists with USDA-ARS Center for Medical Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Tallahassee, Florida, the Argentine Foundation for the Study of Invasive Species, the University of California and the University of Puerto Rico are collaborating to conduct surveys, collections and identifications of parasitoid wasps found attacking HCM in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, and Florida to develop them as biological control agents. Two species of small parasitoid wasps from Argentina and Paraguay are considered to have high potential as control agents of HCM. Living specimens of both species have been collected and delivered to a quarantine facility in Puerto Rico for culture and assessment. Acquisition and development of these biological control agents currently offers the only effective method to restrict the spread of the HCM pest in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands thus preventing the possible loss of diverse cactus forests on the islands.

Technical Abstract: Parasitoids, both primary and secondary (hyperparasitoids), of Hypogeococcus spp. mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) are reviewed to report results of the surveys in the New World conducted during 2009–2017 for perspective natural enemies of the Harrisia cactus mealybug, Hypogeococcus sp., which is devastating native cacti in Puerto Rico and threatening cacti in the adjacent Caribbean islands. Five species of Encyrtidae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) are recorded as primary parasitoids of Hypogeococcus spp., including the newly described Leptomastidea hypogeococci Triapitsyn sp. n., which is the only species of the genus Leptomastidea García Mercet in the New World whose clava of the female antenna is contrastingly white. Genetic analysis of the individuals of L. hypogeococci from Argentina, Brazil, and Puerto Rico (USA) corroborates the morphological data that the same species occurs in South America, the Caribbean islands, and Florida (USA). A key to the New World species of Leptomastidea is given and taxonomic notes are provided on its other known species in the Neotropical region. Leptomastidea antillicola Dozier, syn. n. from Puerto Rico is synonymized under L. abnormis (Girault). Based on the presented molecular data, Anagyrus ciomperliki Triapitsyn syn. n. (Encyrtidae), originally described from Puerto Rico, is synonymized under A. quilmes Triapitsyn, Logarzo & Aguirre, whose known distributional range is also expanded to include Brazil. Anagyrus cachamai Triapitsyn, Logarzo & Aguirre, A. lapachosus Triapitsyn, Aguirre & Logarzo and A. quilmes are newly recorded from Paraguay. The previously unknown male of Prochiloneurus argentinensis (De Santis) (Encyrtidae) is described from Misiones Province of Argentina, and that of P. narendrani Noyes & Triapitsyn is described from Mona Island, Puerto Rico. So far, Anagyrus cachamai and A. lapachosus are considered to be the primary target species for introduction from Argentina and Paraguay into Puerto Rico for the biological control of Harrisia cactus mealybug. The holotype of Anagyrus tanystis De Santis from Buenos Aires, Argentina, whose host associations are unknown, is illustrated to facilitate its recognition from other congeneric species.