Journal of Applied Entomology (2005) 129, 567-573

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N. Lauro, U. Kuhlmann, P.G. Mason and N.J. Holliday (2005)
Interaction of a solitary larval endoparasitoid, Microplitis mediator, with its host, Mamestra brassicae: host acceptance and host suitability
Journal of Applied Entomology 129 (9-10), 567-573
Abstract: Microplitis mediator (Haliday) (Hym., Braconidae) is an important parasitoid of early instar larvae of the European cabbage moth, Mamestra brassicae L. (Lep., Noctuidae). In the laboratory, we examined attack responses of female M. mediator to the first three larval instars of M. brassicae. Females were presented with M. brassicae larvae either one individual at a time in a no-choice experiment, or three individuals, one from each instar, simultaneously in a choice experiment. Whether or not there was choice, naïve female parasitoids attacked a high proportion of larvae and did not discriminate among instars. In the no-choice experiment, attacked larvae were reared, and parasitoid cocoons were produced from about 76% of larvae attacked as first and second instars, but from only 19% of larvae attacked as third instars. Dissections of attacked larvae from the choice experiment showed that about 79% of attacks on first and second instars resulted in oviposition compared with only 49% for third instars. When given choice, frequency and number of attacks on first instar larvae increased with increasing parasitoid experience. Our results suggest that first and second instar larvae of M. brassicae are suitable hosts for M. mediator, but that third instar larvae are suboptimal both because oviposition attempts were frequently unsuccessful and because immature parasitoids failed to complete development. Nevertheless, naïve attacking parasitoids exhibited minimal discrimination among instars, although experienced parasitoids most frequently attacked first instar larvae. The host selection behaviour of M. mediator is discussed in the context of optimal foraging theory and implications for biological control.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Neil J. Holliday, Peter G. Mason, Ulrich Kuhlmann

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Mamestra brassicae
Microplitis mediator (parasitoid) Mamestra brassicae