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New Zealand Plant Protection 67 (2014): 328

Retrospective host specificity testing of Cotesia urabae to assess the risk posed to the New Zealand nolid moth Celama parvitis

G.A. Avila,, T.M. Withers, and G.I. Holwell


Additional retrospective testing of the gum leaf skeletoniser (Uraba lugens) biological control agent Cotesia urabae was conducted against the endemic moth Celama parvitis. Although this native was included in host specificity testing before EPA approved the parasitoid's release, this work aimed to increase the sample size to better assess the potential risk posed. The effect that different periods of host deprivation and prior oviposition experience had on the parasitoid's readiness to attack, was examined in a sequence of no-choice tests. No parasitoids emerged from the 52% of larvae that survived to pupation, thus, confirming C. parvitis as a non-host. Dissections of larvae that died during laboratory rearing revealed that 63% had contained a parasitoid, but no C. urabae parasitoid larvae developed beyond the second instar. Significant differences were found in the attack times according to the parasitoid's deprivation levels (age), and it was also observed that the duration until first attack significantly decreased after each non-target presentation.

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