Intra- and interspecific host discrimination in arrhenotokous and thelytokous Eretmocerus spp.

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Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) is a serious pest of vegetable, ornamental, and agronomic crops throughout the world. To control B. tabaci, Eretmocerus eremicus Rose & Zolnerowich, and Eretmocerus mundus Mercet are considered the most effective parasitoids in dry tropical regions. In parasitoids, choosing the `right` hosts has direct consequences for their reproductive success and efficiency as biocontrol agent. Therefore, being able to discriminate a parasitized host from an unparasitized one would be important to prevent wasting time, eggs, and to reduce the mortality risk for their offspring. We evaluated intra- and interspecific host discrimination and the chance of super-parasitism or multi-parasitism in two populations of E. mundus (sexual and asexual) and E. eremicus. Different combinations and sequences of female introduction were carried out for the various populations and species. Experienced females avoided super-parasitism. However, naïve females did lay eggs under hosts that were previously parasitized by conspecific females. E. eremicus females avoided to multi-parasitize hosts parasitized by E. mundus. However, E. mundus females did multi-parasitize the hosts that had been parasitized earlier by E. eremicus. In the case of super-parasitism, the outcome showed that neither of the E. mundus populations was stronger, whereas in the case of multi-parasitism E. mundus appeared stronger than E. eremicus. Since those populations and species are morphologically similar a molecular method had to be developed to identify the outcome of super- or multi-parasitism, which is presented in Appendix A.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-80
JournalBiological Control
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • biological-control
  • bemisia-tabaci
  • conspecific superparasitism
  • parasitized hosts
  • encarsia-formosa
  • egg parasitoids
  • biotype b
  • hymenoptera
  • aleyrodidae
  • aphelinidae


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