Method for Continuously Rearing Lixadmontia franki (Diptera: Tachinidae), A Potential Biological Control Agent of Metamasius callizona (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae)

Alonso Suazo, Nolberto Arismendi, J. H. Frank, Ronald D. Cave


Lixadmontia franki Wood & Cave kills bromeliad-attacking weevils in the genus Metamasius. This parasitic fly is being investigated for its potential as a classical biological control agent of M. callizona (Chevrolat), which is devastating the native bromeliad flora in south Florida. A continuous rearing method was developed based on the fly’s native host, M. quadrilineatus Champion, and a bromeliad species readily obtained from the field. Levels of parasitism of 3rd instars on slices of Tillandsia standleyi L. B. Smith stems were equivalent to those on intact plants. Larval feeding damage (=3 d) was necessary for successful parasitism. Average level of parasitism per 30 weevil larvae exposed to 42 female flies for 14 d was 85%. Production of L. franki puparia averaged 22.0 ± 12.2 (SD) daily. Most (83%) final instars of the parasitoid exited their host 13-16 d after initial exposure to the flies. Weekly inputs of 210 weevil larvae and 56 fly puparia produced, on average, 154 puparia per week for a net production rate of 2.75.

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