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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Pest Management and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #404338

Research Project: Sustainable Pest Management for Arid-Land Agroecosystems

Location: Pest Management and Biocontrol Research

Title: Effects of fluorescent dust and protein markers on the foraging behavior of a whitefly parasitoid, Eretmocerus emiratus (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae)

item Hagler, James

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/19/2023
Publication Date: 11/9/2023
Citation: Hagler, J.R. 2023. Effects of fluorescent dust and protein markers on the foraging behavior of a whitefly parasitoid, Eretmocerus emiratus (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae). Journal of Applied Entomology. 147(9):878-882.

Interpretive Summary: Knowledge of the dispersion patterns of beneficial parasitoids is essential for effective pest management. A critical component of any dispersal study is to have a method to mark the parasitoid species that does not alter its foraging behavior. A scientist at the ARS laboratory in Maricopa, AZ compared the foraging behaviors of whitefly parasitoids that were unmarked (control), marked with fluorescent orange dust, or marked with a vertebrate immunoglobulin protein. The results showed, for the most part, that the marked specimens exhibited similar foraging patterns as their unmarked counterparts. These results suggest that these marks can be used with confidence to study the dispersal ability of this small and delicate parasitoid species.

Technical Abstract: Mark-release-recapture studies require the application of a taggant to the arthropod under investigation before release at the study site so that recaptured specimens are identifiable. This mark must not affect the dispersal or foraging behavior of the targeted organism. In this study, groups of Eretmocerus eremicus Rose and Zolnerowich (Hymenoptera: Aleyrodidae), a whitefly parasitoid, were marked externally with fluorescent dust or a liquid protein, or internally with a protein incorporated in their diet. Subsequently, the mark treatments' effects on foraging behavior were compared to unmarked parasitoids. For the most part, marked specimens behaved similarly to their unmarked counterparts. However, there was an increase in host feeding, probing, and grooming activities exhibited by parasitoids exposed to certain mark treatments.