, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 23-31

Parasitoid diversity and impact on populations of the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (L.) on Brassica crops in central México

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Abstract

Three experimental plots were established and maintained during one year at two sites in the state of Querétaro, México, in order to identify species of parasitoids attacking the diamondback moth (DBM) Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), and to gather information concerning their relative importance and patterns of population fluctuation. At both sites, the plots were planted with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower during three cropping seasons. Parasitoid species identified were: Diadegma insulare Cresson, Diadromus (= Thyraeella) collaris Gravenhorst (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae); Habrobracon sp. (Hymenoptera: Braconidae); Oomyzus (= Tetrastichus) sokolowoskii Kurdjumov (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae); and Spilochalcis (= Conura) sp. (Hymenoptera: Chalcididae). This last species is a hyperparasitoid of D. insulare. The most abundant and frequently occurring species was D. insulare, it occurred in both localities during all three cropping seasons. The highest levels of parasitism caused by D. insulare on DBM were registered in the spring-summer season of 1996 at `La Soledad' farm with averages of 42.7, 45.0 and 44.5% on cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, respectively. Because D. insulare was detected attacking the pest at very low population densities during the initial stages of the crop cycle, it is assumed that the parasitoid has a high searching capacity. Correlation (r) between DBM and D. insulare population numbers was positive and significant. The other species identified occurred sporadically and had little impact on pest populations. The identification of D. collaris represents the first record of this species in North America.