Host range testing of a prospective classical biological control agent against cabbage maggot, Delia radicum, in Canada.

Andreassen, L.D., Kuhlmann, U., Mason, P.G., and Holliday, N.J. (2009). "Host range testing of a prospective classical biological control agent against cabbage maggot, Delia radicum, in Canada.", Biological Control, 48(2), pp. 210-220. doi : 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2008.10.006  Access to full text

Abstract

The introduction of a European natural enemy, Aleochara bipustulata L. (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae), is being considered for control of cabbage maggot, Delia radicum (L.) (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) in canola in Canada, and the host specificity of this pupal parasitoid must first be studied. Contemporary guidelines were used to select 18 species of Diptera to represent non-target species taxonomically related or ecologically similar to reported hosts of A. bipustulata, or beneficial species. No-choice tests were used to determine which of the 18 species are within A. bipustulata’s fundamental host range, and whether puparial structure or mass or duration of pupal development influence their acceptability and suitability as hosts. Five species were consistently suitable as hosts, and these were either relatively small or were taxonomically closely related to the target host. The probability that a puparium would be entered by a parasitoid larva was greatest for small puparia, but was unaffected by pupal duration. The probability of completing parasitoid development once a puparium was entered was influenced by both puparial mass and duration of pupal development. Pitfall traps to assess habitat associations caught A. bipustulata adults in a variety of crop habitats but none were caught in forests. Host range and habitat data are used to argue that there is little risk of parasitism to beneficial taxa. Non-target species taxonomically closely related to the target D. radicum or with small puparia may fall within the fundamental host range of A. bipustulata. However, risk to many of these species may be minimal because of the habitat preferences of the parasitoid and its cues for host-finding and recognition.

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