Successful biological control requires detailed knowledge about host preferences of the released parasitoid, because the presence of alternative hosts may affect the control of the target pest. The objective of this work was therefore to evaluate host preferences of Telenomus podisi Ashmead among the eggs of three stink bug species: Dichelops melacanthus Dallas, Euschistus heros Fabricius, and Podisus nigrispinus Dallas (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae). Three independent experiments were carried out to study host preferences among the following: (1) E. heros, D. melacanthus dallas, and P. nigrispinus (bioassay 1); (2) E. heros and D. melacanthus (bioassay 2); and (3) D. melacanthus and P. nigrispinus (bioassay 3). A single bioassay (bioassay 4) was carried out to evaluate the egg size of E. heros, D. melacanthus, and P. nigrispinus. Two more bioassays were carried out: bioassay 5 to study the biological characteristics of T. podisi reared on E. heros, D. melacanthus, and P. nigrispinus eggs, and bioassay 6 to study the morphological characters of T. podisi reared on those different host eggs. Overall, T. podisi consistently preferred eggs of D. melacanthus to those of the other studied hosts, due to probably their better nutritional value; hypothesis that is supported by the fast T. podisi development and bigger parasitoids when reared on D. melacanthus and P. nigrispinus eggs. This allows suggesting that neither pre-imaginal conditioning nor associative learning nor α-conditioning are relevant to T. podisi parasitism. Thus, E. heros eggs could be successfully used for mass rearing of this parasitoid for successive generations since it would not affect its parasitism on other species of the Pentatomidae family in the field.
Neotropical Entomology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 20, 2017
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