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New Zealand Plant Protection 63 (2010): 284

Reproductive behaviour of Microctonus aethiopoides Loan (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) parasitising Sitona lepidus

M.R. McNeill and D.B. Baird


Parasitoid host discrimination and the effect of superparasitism on weevil survival and emergence of parasitoids were investigated for the braconid parasitoid Microctonus aethiopoides, introduced for control of Sitona lepidus Gyllenhal (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). The quarantine-based study compared Irish, Welsh, Norwegian and French strains of the parasitoid. All strains were similar in their ability to parasitise S. lepidus, but Welsh, Norwegian and French strains did not discriminate between parasitised and unparasitised hosts. In comparison, oviposition in the Irish strain was biased towards parasitised weevils. Furthermore, in the Irish strain, where more than one egg was laid in a host, supernumerary larvae were able to survive and emerge from the weevil. The gregarious oviposition behaviour displayed by the Irish strain has not been observed in other M. aethiopoides biotypes parasitising Sitona or Hypera species.

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