Suitability of nine mealybug species (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae) as hosts for the parasitoid Anagyrus kamali (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae)

L. A. Sagarra, C. Vincent, R. K. Stewart

Abstract


The parasitoid Anagyrus kamali Moursi [Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae] has been recently introduced into the Caribbean as a biological control agent against the Hibiscus Mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus Green [Homoptera: Pseudococcidae]. In order to understand host/parasitoid ecological interactions and optimize the mass-production system of this parasitoid, eight mealybug species (Planococcus citri (Risso), Planococcus halli Ezzat & McConnel, Dysmicoccus brevipes (Cockerell), Pseudococcus elisae Borchsenius, Saccharococcus sacchari (Cockerell), Puto barberii (Cockerell), Nipaecoccus nipae (Newstead), Plotococcus neotropicus (Williams & Granara de Willink)) common to Trinidad were tested to determine their potential as alternative hosts for the parasitoid. Susceptibility, preference and suitability tests were conducted. In addition to M. hirsutus (4.5 ± 2.04 hosts parasitized per female parasitoid in 30 min), Planococcus citri (1.1 ± 1.23 hosts parasitized) and Planoccocus halli (0.8 ± 1.41 hosts parasitized) were the only species parasitized. However, the parasitoid did not complete its development in the latter two hosts. Out of nine mealybug species, M. hirsutus was the only suitable host for the complete development of A. kamali progeny. This level of host specificity by A. kamali may prevent adverse effect to other Caribbean mealybug species.

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