Determining the host specificity of the biological control agent Trichomalus perfectus (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae): the importance of ecological host range
Haye, T., Mason, P.G., Gillespie, D.R., Miall, J.H., Gibson, G.A.P., Diaconu, A., Brauner, A.M., Kuhlmann, U. (2015). Determining the host specificity of the biological control agent Trichomalus perfectus (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae): the importance of ecological host range. Biocontrol Science and Technology, [online] 25(1), 21-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09583157.2014.945900
We determined the host range of the parasitoid Trichomalus perfectus (Walker), a candidate for classical biological control of cabbage seedpod weevil, Ceutorhynchus obstrictus (Marsham), an important pest of canola in Canada. Studies were conducted in Europe and in North America. In laboratory experiments, the levels of parasitism (acceptance) of Ceutorhynchus turbatus Schultze, C. cardariae Korotyaev, C. omissus Fall and C. querceti (Gyllenhal) by T. perfectus were not significantly different than of the target host C. obstrictus. Although C. typhae (Herbst), C. pallidactylus (Marsham), C. americanus Buchanan, C. neglectus Blatchely and Ceutorhynchus sp. nr. nodipennis were parasitised by T. perfectus, the levels of parasitism were significantly lower on these species than on C. obstrictus. Ceutorhynchus peyerimhoffi Hustache, C. erysimi (Fabricius), C. alliariae H. Brisout, C. roberti Gyllenhal, Mogulones borraginis (Fabricius), Mononychus vulpeculus (Fabricius) and the leaf-mining fly Scaptomyza flava (Fallén) were not attacked. Ecological host range surveys in Europe corroborated the prediction that T. perfectus would attack C. cardariae at similar rates to C. obstrictus. In North America, the recent discovery of T. perfectus in a C. omissus population suggests that laboratory findings predicting that C. omissus is a preferred host may be the case in the field. We found that T. perfectus attacks larvae of some Ceutorhynchus spp. feeding on Brassicaceae and does not attack species outside of that host range. Thus, the parasitoid can be defined as narrowly oligophagous. These results demonstrate the value of ecological host range studies in the area of origin to validate hypotheses generated through laboratory host range experiments.