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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Newark, Delaware » Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #352580

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

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit

Title: Parasitoid host ranges: comparing studies from the laboratory and field

Author
item Heimpel, George - University Of Minnesota
item Hopper, Keith
item Kaser, Joseph
item Miksanek, J - University Of Minnesota
item Bulgarella, M - Victoria University
item Ramirez, I - University Of Minnesota
item Boulton, R - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/11/2017
Publication Date: 11/7/2017
Citation: Heimpel, G.E., Hopper, K.R., Kaser, J.M., Miksanek, J., Bulgarella, M., Ramirez, I., Boulton, R.A. 2017. Parasitoid host ranges: comparing studies from the laboratory and field. International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods.

Interpretive Summary: Laboratory assays are used to assess the host specificity of parasitic wasps being considered for use as importation biological control agents. The extent to which results from these assays predict the host specificity expressed in the field is an important question in biological control risk assessment. A common observation from the literature on arthropod weed biological control agents and on pathogens of insects is that field host ranges are narrower than laboratory host ranges, but relatively few studies have investigated this for parasitic wasps. Here we briefly review studies comparing field and laboratory host ranges in parasitic wasps and then report on results from two empirical studies – one involving a parasite of aphids that invaded North America where it is providing some control of the soybean aphid, and another involving a potential biological control of a bird-parasitic nest fly that has invaded the Galapagos Islands where it is attacking Darwin’s finches. The results of laboratory studies of host range tended to be upheld in field studies.

Technical Abstract: Laboratory assays are used to assess the host specificity of parasitoids being considered for use as importation biological control agents. The extent to which results from these assays predict the host specificity expressed in the field is an important question in biological control risk assessment. A common observation from the literatures on arthropod weed biological control agents and on entomopathogens of insects is that field host ranges are narrower than laboratory host ranges, but relatively few studies have investigated this for parasitoids (Heimpel and Mills, 2017). Here we briefly review studies comparing field and laboratory host ranges in parasitoids and then report on results from two empirical studies – one involving an aphid parasitoid that invaded North America where it is providing some control of the soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hemiptera: Aphididae), and another involving a potential biological control of a bird-parasitic nest fly that has invaded the Galapagos Islands where it is attacking Darwin’s finches.