Biología, desarrollo y reproducción de Leptomastidea ca. antillicola Dozier (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), en la chinche harinosa del cacto Hypogeococcus pungens
AdvisorSegarra-Carmona, Alejandro E.
CollegeCollege of Agricultural Sciences
DepartmentDepartment of Crops and Agro-Environmental Sciences
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Given the lack of biological information on Leptomastidea ca. antillicola, the encyrtid parasitoid of Hypogeococcus pungens, and given its potential importance in biological control, it is necessary to study the biology, reproduction, and behavior of this parasitoid. I designed methods for rearing L. ca. antillicola and the mealybug H. pungens under laboratory conditions. I studied the population biology and reproductive behavior of L. ca antillicola and determined the ability of L.ca antillicola to attack others pseudococcids species. The developmental period (egg-adult) of the parasitoid was 19 to 30 days, with 90% of adults having emerged by 25 days. The female to male ratio was 1.2:1, similar to that observed in the field. The emergence of males was faster. I described five phases in mating behavior: (1) search, (2) meeting and acceptance, (3) frame, (4) copula and (5) post-mating. The average total time of copulation was 1.61 ± 0.25 minutes. I also described oviposition behavior across five phases of the mealybug life cycle. L. ca. antillicola oviposited in the second and third immature stages and pre-reproductive females of H. pungens. The parasitoid L. ca. antillicola could only complete its life cycle on H. pungens. In the field, yellow traps were more effective in field sampling and populations as determined by trapping showed seasonal and geographical variation. Based on my analysis, the parasitoid should not pose a greater environmental risk to native pseudococcid species when used in classical type introductions in places where the mealybug is about to invade because L. ca. antillicola showed a high degree of specificity towards H. pungens.