Population Dynamics of Phyllocnistis citrella (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) and its Parasitoids in Tafí Viejo, Tucumán, Argentina

Patricia A. Diez, Jorge E. Pena, Patricio Fidalgo


Seasonal abundance of the citrus leafminer, Phyllocnistis citrella Stainton (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae), was investigated between Nov 1999 and Apr 2003 in Tafí Viejo (Tucuman province). Phyllocnistis citrella populations increased during spring and summer, declined during fall, and disappeared in the winter. Five species of parasitoids, one exotic and four indigenous, attacked citrus leafminer immature stages in commercial and experimental lemon orchards. Ageniaspis citricola Logvinovskaya (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) was the most abundant parasitoid. Cirrospilus neotropicus Diez & Fidalgo (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) was the most abundant indigenous species, followed by Galeopsomyia fausta LaSalle (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae). The other indigenous species were not common and were only occasionally collected from citrus leafminer larvae. Parasitoids and P. citrella exhibited similar population fluctuations throughout the entire sampling period. A certain degree of synchrony exists between the most abundant parasitoids (A. citricola, C. neotropicus, and G. fausta) and the pest. The highest rates of parasitism were observed in the fall. Ageniaspis citricola exhibited approximately 29.5% parasitism, whereas all the native species together were only 8.2%. Data showed that a clear dependence existed between percentages of parasitism and citrus leafminer population density for the most frequent parasitoid populations. The results of this study show that C. neotropicus has an important role among the native species present in Argentina.

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