Biology of Thripinema nicklewoodi (Tylenchida), an Obligate Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera) Parasite

Judy M. Mason, Kevin M. Heinz

Abstract


Frankliniella occidentalis, a serious pest of agricultural crops, is difficult to manage because chemical and biological control measures frequently fail to affect F. occidentalis in their preferred microhabitats. Parasitism by the host-specific, entomopathogenic nematode Thripinema nicklewoodi may provide a much-needed alternative to current control strategies. Infection does not cause death of the host; rather, the result is sterilization that leads to suppression of F. occidentalis populations. We describe a simple rearing method and the results from studies aimed at providing details on its biology-both essential first steps to examining its biological control potential. All F. occidentalis life stages are susceptible to infection, but to varying degrees (most susceptible to least susceptible): female pupae, second instar larvae, first instar larvae, male pupae, adult females, adult males. Nematodes emerge from female and male F. occidentalis for approximately 15 and 9 days, with approximately 14 and 7 nematodes emerging per day, respectively. Females and males are short-lived outside of the host, with mean survival rates ranging between 7 and 86 hours. Transmission does not occur in the soil but rather on or within plant structures that are preferred microhabitats visited by F. occidentalis. Results from a dose-response study suggest that augmentative applications of T. nicklewoodi may be useful to generate increased infection rates and subsequent suppression of F. occidentalis populations.

Keywords


biological control; entomopathogenic nematodes; thripinema nicklewoodi; western flower thrips

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