Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (1): 121-129, 2008 | 10.14411/eje.2008.017

Influence of abiotic factors on some biological and ecological characteristics of the aphid parasitoid Aphelinus asychis (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) parasitizing Aphis gossypii (Sternorrhyncha: Aphididae)

Stefanie SCHIRMER*, Cetin SENGONCA*, Peter BLAESER
Department of Entomology and Plant Protection, Section Phytomedicine, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation, University of Bonn, Nussallee 9, D-53115 Bonn, Germany; e-mails: C.Sengonca@uni-bonn.de, s.schirmer@uni-bonn.de

The current laboratory study was designed to evaluate the effect of abiotic and biotic factors such as temperature, light intensity, relative humidity and host age on biological and ecological characteristics of Aphelinus asychis (Walker) parasitizing Aphis gossypii (Glover). The traits studied were developmental duration, mortality, sex ratio, longevity, fecundity and host feeding. A. asychis can completely develop and reproduce at temperatures 18C and 30C, light intensities of 1000 and 7000 lux and relative humidities of 30% and 60%. Temperature had a significant effect on the developmental duration as well as on the percentage and longevity of females, while mortality from mummification to emergence, fecundity and host feeding were only slightly affected. Relative humidity only affected the developmental duration of A. asychis. Light intensity had mostly affected the biological and ecological traits of A. asychis. High light intensity resulted in a shorter developmental duration, higher incidence of females and longer life span of the female parasitoid. A high tolerance to climatic variations and life cycle well adapted to this aphid host are properties that make it likely that A. asychis could be used for the biological control of the cotton aphid in greenhouses.

Keywords: Aphelinidae, Aphelinus asychis, Japanese strain, Aphis gossypii, cotton aphid, biological control, biology, development, fecundity, host feeding, light intensity, temperature, relative humidity

Received: June 29, 2007; Accepted: October 2, 2007; Published: February 15, 2008

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