Metaphycus sp. nr. flavus (Encyrtidae: Hymenoptera) is a parasitoid species collected from the Mediterranean region which lays its eggs in the immature stages of several economically important soft scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccidae), including brown soft scale, Coccus hesperidum L. (= host insect). Preliminary tests suggested that the parasitoid is most successful in producing offspring when it oviposits in the younger stages of brown soft scale. In Y-olfactometer bioassays measuring wasp choices and residence times, naïve parasitoids were significantly more attracted to yucca leaves infested with 26, 27, or 28 d-old scale than to uninfested leaves, whereas leaves with older (29-30 d-old) scale were no more attractive than uninfested leaves. Parasitoids also spent significantly more time in the arm with yucca leaves infested with 26 d-old scale than in the arm with uninfested leaves. These results are consistent with observations of the parasitoid's reproductive success on scale of different ages, whereby older scale are more likely to encapsulate the developing eggs of M. sp. nr. flavus females than are younger scale. Further bioassays determined that yucca leaves that had been infested with 26 d-old scale but from which the scale had been removed were as attractive as infested leaves. In contrast, infested yucca leaves from which scale had been removed and the leaves subsequently washed with distilled water were less attractive than infested leaves. Furthermore, the wash water containing scale residues was attractive to female wasps. In total, these results suggest that Metaphycus sp. nr. flavus females utilize volatile, water soluble compounds produced by brown soft scale as cues to locate suitable hosts.
|Numero di pagine||6|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2004|
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