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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Newark, Delaware » Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374900

Research Project: Biological Control of Invasive Wood-Boring Insect Pests such as Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit

Title: Assessment of Asobara japonica as a potential biological control agent for the spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii

item Wang, Xingeng
item BIONDI, ANTONIO - University Of Catania
item NANCE, ALEXANDRA - University Of California
item ZAPPALÀ, LUCIA - University Of Catania
item Hoelmer, Kim
item DAANE, KENT - University Of California

Submitted to: Entomologia Generalis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2020
Publication Date: 12/21/2020
Citation: Wang, X., Biondi, A., Nance, A.H., Zappalà, L., Hoelmer, K.A., Daane, K.M. 2020. Assessment of Asobara japonica as a potential biological control agent for the spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii. Entomologia Generalis.

Interpretive Summary: Spotted wing drosophila has become a key invasive pest of soft- and thin-skinned fruit crops in Europe and the Americas, where locally occurring natural enemies are generally not effective for the suppression of this pest or are largely absent. Several parasitic wasps that attack spotted wing drosophila larvae were collected from its native range in Asia and are under consideration for release in North America to help control this pest. As a part of systematic evaluations of these candidate agents, we assessed the potential of one Asian parasitic wasp attacking fly larvae as a biological control agent for this invasive pest. This wasp was able to attack and develop in fly larvae infesting cherry, blackberry and strawberry. It was most effective in attacking young fly larvae and on large host species. This information will help improve rearing procedures and the use of the parasitoid in a biological control program against drosophila fruit flies.

Technical Abstract: To assess the potential of Asobara japonica Belokobylskij (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) as a biological control agent for the invasive Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae), key biological traits were evaluated: preference and suitability of different host ages, relative performance on two host species (D. suzukii and D. melanogaster Meigen), female life-time fecundity and egg maturation on the two host species, and parasitism levels on D. suzukii larvae infesting different host fruits (blackberry, cherry and strawberry). Asobara japonica preferred young over old hosts, and although host age did not affect offspring survival, parasitoid offspring developed faster in older than younger hosts but had a reduced body size. There was higher A. japonica offspring survival, longer developmental time, and larger body size when reared from D. suzukii than D. melanogaster. Female wasps emerged with around one third of their lifetime egg load and matured eggs rapidly with mature egg load reaching a peak 2-3 d post-emergence. Large females (typically reared from D. suzukii) contained more mature eggs than small females (typically from D. melanogaster). During their lifetime, A. japonica females produced 117.4 and 92.5 progeny on D. suzukii and D. melanogaster, respectively, with a corresponding intrinsic rate of increase of 0.217 and 0.210, respectively. Progeny were strongly female-biased (> 90% females), regardless of host age or species. This larval parasitoid was able to develop from D. suzukii infesting cherry, blackberry or strawberry. This information may help improve protocols for the rearing and/or use of A. japonica in a biological control program against D. suzukii.