Invertebrate Predators and Parasitoids of Plum Curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in Georgia and Florida

David A. Jenkins, Russ F. Mizell III, David Shapiro-Ilan, Ted Cottrell, Dan Horton

Abstract


The extent of predation and parasitism on larvae of the plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), was measured independently with several different experimental designs at sites in northern Florida and central Georgia. Experimental manipulation in Monticello, FL, and in Byron, GA, demonstrated equivocal impacts by predation. However, direct observations in Byron, GA, revealed that ants are the dominant invertebrate predators of plum curculio larvae, causing up to 62% mortality. Primary ant predators included Solenopsis invicta (Buren) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Dorymyrmex bureni (Trager) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Predation may be more important later in the season when infested fruit does not abscise and plum curculio larvae must drop to the ground from the trees and spend a considerable time burrowing into the soil. This contrasts with the early season when infested fruit abscise and larvae crawl from the fruit directly into the soil, reducing their exposure to predators. Recorded parasites included Nealiolus curculionis (Fitch) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and Cholomyia inaequipes Bigot (Diptera: Tachinidae). Parasitism, particularly by N. curculionis, was common in northern Florida but rare in middle Georgia.

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