Host stage preference and parasitism behaviour of Aenasius bambawaleian an encyrtid parasitoid of Phenacoccus solenopsis

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Badshah, Hayat ; Ullah, Farman ; Calatayud, Paul Andre ; Crickmore, Neil (2016)

In Pakistan, the cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Sternorrhyncha (Homoptera): Pseudococcidae), is a serious pest of many cultivated plants. A parasitoid, Aenasius bambawalei Hayat (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), is associated with P. solenopsis. In order to mass rear A. bambawalei for a biological control program, it is important to investigate the parasitoid’s host stage preference and its parasitism behavior for P. solenopsis in order to optimize production. The present tudy showed that under both choice and no choice conditions, the parasitoid preferred 3rd instar and pre-reproductive host stage mealybugs for parasitism. Parasitoid larva developing inside the host exhibited a greater longevity, shorter developmental period and longer body size in these preferred host stages. Our study also confirmed that A. bambawalei showed no attraction to male mealybugs and no host feeding on any host stage was recorded. The ability of the parasitoid to effectively discriminate between suitable and non-suitable stages means that it is feasible to rear it on a mixed population.
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