Specificity of Anagyrus sp. nov. nr. sinope and Leptomastix dactylopii for six mealybug species
In order to understand better non-target effect and potential uses, the host specificity of two parasitoid species (Anagyrus sp. nov. nr. sinope Noyes & Menezes and Leptomastix dactylopii Howard) (both Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) for six mealybug species [Ferrisia virgata (Cockerell), Phenacoccus madeirensis Green, Phenacoccus solani Ferris, Planococcus citri (Risso),Pseudococcus longispinus (Targioni-Tozzetti) and Pseudococcus viburni (Signoret)] (all Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) was studied through behavioral observations and laboratory rearing. The selected mealybug species represent major subfamilies and tribes of Pseudococcidae. Except for F. virgata, all mealybug species induced examinations by Anagyrus sp. nov. nr. sinope and L. dactylopii. Anagyrus sp. nov. nr. sinope was specific to P. madeirensis, which was the only mealybug species selected for oviposition and suitable for complete development of the parasitoid. No encapsulation of Anagyrus sp. nov. nr. sinope in P. madeirensis was observed. Leptomastix dactylopii accepted multiple species for oviposition, with the ranking of species preference as P. citri > P. viburni > P. longispinus > P. solani > P. madeirensis. Only P. citri, P. longispinus and P. viburni supported the development of L. dactylopii. Parasitoids developing in P. longispinus and P. viburni suffered from high encapsulation rates, while no encapsulation was observed when developing in P. citri. The results of this study suggest that Anagyrus sp. nov. nr. sinope is highly host specific. Leptomastix dactylopii, on the other hand, has a wider host range. The use of Anagyrus sp. nov. nr. sinope in a mealybug biological control program is limited to P. madeirensis and L. dactylopii to P. citri. The results presented in this study also lead us to question the accuracy of the reported host range of L. dactylopii, which include all six mealybug species tested.