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Mutual interference in the mass-reared fruit fly parasitoid, Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)

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Abstract

Diachasmimorpha longicaudata is a solitary endoparasitoid produced in Mexico for the biological control of Anastrepha fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae). We studied the effect of mutual interference among conspecific foraging females to better understand the parasitoid-host dynamics established in the mass-rearing system of this species. We used a constant host availability of 60 third instar larvae of Anastrepha ludens (per oviposition unit type Petri dish) that were individually exposed for 3 h to 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 14, and 20 D. longicaudata females, seven days old without oviposition experience. The following parameters were evaluated: total number of attacked hosts (i.e., larvae with at least one oviposition scar), number of attacked hosts per female, adult emergence percentage, and female proportion. We also performed a second assay at mass-rearing level, contrasting the current proportion used in mass-rearing (~ two host larvae per female) with the alternative treatments (5 and 7.5 host larvae per female). Results showed that the density of females foraging on a patch exhibits an inverse relationship to the number of hosts attacked by one female. The highest values for adult emergence (73.4%), patch exploitation (94.6%), and female proportion (0.86) were obtained in the treatments with 7.5, 6, and 3 host larvae per female, respectively. Under mass-rearing conditions, we found that a lower density of females per cage (~ five larvae per female) reduced superparasitism levels without affecting adult emergence and the proportion of females. This suggests that the mass-rearing efficiency of D. longicaudata could be improved by reducing the density of foraging females.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Cesar Galvez, Velisario Ribera and Alvaro Meza (Programa Moscafrut SADER-IICA) for technical support, and Javier Valle (ECOSUR) for sound statistical advice. This study was funded by the Programa Nacional de Moscas de la Fruta DGSV-SENASICA-SADER.

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Correspondence to Pablo Montoya.

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All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest, and that the research was conducted according to the compliance with ethical standards.

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López, P., Rosales, D., Flores, S. et al. Mutual interference in the mass-reared fruit fly parasitoid, Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). BioControl 66, 649–658 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-021-10102-w

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