Evaluation of host plants and a meridic diet for rearing Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) AND ITS PARASITOID Anagyrus kamali (HYMENOPTERA: ENCYRTIDAE)
AbstractBiological control programs of Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green), in the Caribbean have relied on Japanese pumpkins and sprouted potatoes as hosts for rearing both the mealybug and its parasitoids. However, seasonal shortages of these substrates have necessitated that others be found with equal or better qualities for sustaining large mealybug populations. In this paper, we report experiments comparing mass-rearing M. hirsutus on acorn squash (Cucurbita pepo L. var. ‘Turbinata’), chayote (Sechium edule [Jacques]), and prickly pear, Opuntia ficus-indica [L.]) with Japanese pumpkin and sprouted potato. In addition, a simple meridic diet based on canned pumpkins was developed and compared. Acorn squash produced large quantities of females (up to 1,300 per squash) with a life cycle and reproductive potential equal to that of mealybugs reared on Japanese pumpkin. Parasitoids reared on these mealybugs developed normally and had a female-biased sex ratio similar to those reared on mealybugs on Japanese pumpkins or potato sprouts. Development of M. hirsutus reared on chayote and prickly pear was delayed by 1.5-5.0 days compared to that of mealybugs reared on Japanese pumpkins. Mealybugs on these substrates produced parasitoids with prolonged developmental times and male-biased sex ratios. On diet, development and reproduction of M. hirsutus was possible only for 3 to 4 consecutive generations. Mealybugs with longer developmental time, lower survival, and smaller ovisacs with lower percentage eclosion were obtained. Parasitoids reared from these mealybugs did not possess desirable characteristics for biological control. The developmental rate of adult parasitoids increased linearly with that of female hosts depending on the quality of the rearing substrate for the mealybugs.
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