Location: Vegetable ResearchTitle: Encarsia hera Lahey & Andreason (Hymenoptera, Aphelinidae): a charismatic new parasitoid of Aleurocybotus Quaintance & Baker (Hemiptera, Aleyrodidae) from Florida
Submitted to: Journal of Hymenoptera Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/8/2022
Publication Date: 12/20/2022
Citation: Lahey, Z., Simmons, A.M., Andreason, S.A. 2022. Encarsia hera Lahey & Andreason (Hymenoptera, Aphelinidae): a charismatic new parasitoid of Aleurocybotus Quaintance & Baker (Hemiptera, Aleyrodidae) from Florida. Journal of Hymenoptera Research. 94:89-104. https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.94.94677.
Interpretive Summary: A new natural enemy of whiteflies was discovered. Whiteflies feeding on grass were collected, and a previously undescribed parasitoid wasp emerged from them. Here, we described the new beneficial natural enemy based on its unique morphology and gene sequences. This new discovery will be of interest to the scientific community and can be studied further to determine if they can be used for management of other whitefly pest species.
Technical Abstract: A new, biparental species of the genus Encarsia Förster (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae), E. hera Lahey & Andreason, sp. nov., is characterized based on morphological and molecular data. The parasitoid was reared from the puparia of its host, an undescribed species of the grass-feeding aleyrodine genus Aleurocybotus Quaintance & Baker (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) collected in Gainesville, Florida. The same whitefly, but not its parasitoid, is newly recorded from Charleston, South Carolina, where it is a pest of ornamental Muhly grass. A phylogenetic analysis based on a fragment of the 28S ribosomal DNA gene in 34 Encarsia species placed E. hera sp. nov. within the E. luteola-group, a result concordant with its morphology. A key to the Encarsia species reared from Aleurocybotus is provided.