Semielacher petiolatus (parasitoid)
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Semielacher petiolatus (parasitoid) (Girault, 1915)
This wasp is a solitary ectoparasitoid of the citrus leafminer (Phyllocnistis citrella). It is native to Australia and the Solomon Islands and has been introduced against this leafminer in the Mediterranean region (e.g. Argov & Rössler, 1997) as well as in North America. In Italy, to where it spread naturally (first record in 1998), parasitisation levels reached 80% a few years after its discovery.
The adults are 1-2 mm long. Females feed on and kill leafminer larvae, by stinging them and then drinking the hemolymph. A venom is injected in order to paralyse the larva. Eggs are deposited near the end of the larva (usually 2nd and 3rd instar). The hatching wasp larva feeds externally on the paralysed leafminer larva and finally pupates inside the mine.