Biology and performance of two indigenous larval parasitoids on Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in Sudan
Du Plessis, H.
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Tuta absoluta is an alien invasive pest in Sudan. Since it was detected in the country, the pest continues to cause major tomato losses. Alarmed by its devastating nature and the speed of spread, tomato growers resorted to the indiscriminate use of broad-spectrum insecticides. Promising indigenous parasitoid(s) may contribute to suppression of this pest. The biology and performance of the native parasitoids, Bracon nigricans Szépligeti (Braconidae) and Dolichogenidea appellator (Telenga) (Braconidae), was therefore evaluated against different immature stages of T. absoluta under laboratory conditions. A significantly higher number of fourth instar larvae was accepted for oviposition by B. nigricans. Similarly, fourth instar larvae yielded a considerably higher number of parasitoid offspring compared to third instar larvae. The male ratio of B. nigricans offspring which emerged from both larval instars was high, 0.96 and 0.66 for third and fourth instar larvae of T. absoluta, respectively. There was, however, no significant difference in the number of males and females that emerged from fourth instar larvae. Conversely, the number of hosts killed by stinging behaviour or host feeding was significantly higher on third instar larvae. B. nigricans potential fecundity varied with the age of the wasp with the lowest fecundity on the day of eclosion. The performance of D. appellator in terms of the total number of offspring produced and female progeny was similar for second and third instar larvae of T. absoluta. The preimaginal developmental time for both parasitoid species did not vary with either host stage or sex of the parasitoid. B. nigricans adult longevity was similar for both sexes, while that of D. appellator significantly varied with females living longer than males. Prospects for conservative biological control of T. absoluta are discussed in the light of the results of this study