Feasibility of using an Alternative Larval Host and Host Plants to Establish Cotesia flavipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) in the Temperate Louisiana Sugarcane Ecosystem
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Attempts to establish Cotesia flavipes Cameron (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) in Louisiana sugarcane fields to control the sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis (F.) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) have been unsuccessful. Experiments were conducted to investigate the feasibility of using an alternative larval host and host plants to overcome barriers preventing establishment. In addition, we evaluated C. flavipes' ability to search for D. saccharalis in sugarcane without above-ground internodes. Diatraea evanescens Dyar (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) was investigated as an alternative host for C. flavipes. Cotesia flavipes was reared for five generations on D. evanescens without any indication of diminishing fitness as measured by days to parasite pupation and average cocoon mass weight. However, there was a significant reduction in percent parasitism, cocoon mass weight, and percent emergence when C. flavipes parasitized D. evanescens as compared with D. saccharalis, resulting in a 75% reduction in the gross reproductive rate (R(0)). Greenhouse studies indicated little difference in parasitism of D. saccharalis on the weed hosts johnsongrass, Sorghum halepense (L.), and vaseygrass, Paspalum urvillei Steud. However, when planted as refuge plots, we found it difficult to establish infestations of D. saccharalis in either of these hosts, or in two energy sugarcanes. After 3 yr of infesting host plants and releasing parasitoids only one parasitized D. saccharalis larvae was recovered within the johnsongrass refuge. Diatraea evanescens readily established in vaseygrass; however, these larvae appear inaccessible to C. flavipes. In contrast, parasitism of D. saccharalis by C. flavipes infesting young sugarcane was 30%.
author list (cited authors)
White, W. H., & Wilson, L. T.