Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (3): 485-487, 2008 | 10.14411/eje.2008.062

The parasitoid Praon volucre (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae) as a potential biological control agent of the aphid Uroleucon ambrosiae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on lettuce in Brazil

Bruno Freitas DE CONTI1, Vanda Helena Paes BUENO1, Marcus Vinicius SAMPAIO2
1 Universidade Federal de Lavras, Departamento de Entomologia, Caixa postal 3037, CEP 37200-000, Lavras-MG, Brazil; e-mail: bfdeconti@yahoo.com.br; vhpbueno@ufla.br
2 Universidade Federal de Uberlāndia, ICIAG, Campus Umuarama, Caixa postal 593, CEP 38400-902, Uberlāndia-MG, Brazil; e-mail: mvsampaio@iciag.ufu.br

The aphid Uroleucon ambrosiae (Thomas) is one of the principal pests found on greenhouse lettuce crops, and there is no efficient biological control agent of this pest in Brazil. This work evaluates the aphid U. ambrosiae as a host for the parasitoid Praon volucre (Haliday), aimed at using P. volucre as a potential biological control agent of U. ambrosiae on lettuce. As Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas) is a common host of P. volucre in the field, the development of the parasitoid was compared on these two aphid species. Twenty nymphs of the 2nd instar were kept with P. volucre for one hour at 22 ± 1°C, 70 ± 10% RH and a 12 h photophase. The size of the aphid's tibiae at the moment of oviposition indicated that there was no significant size difference between U. ambrosiae (0.6 ± 0.02 mm) and M. euphorbiae (0.7 ± 0.03 mm). When mummies were formed, M. euphorbiae had significantly longer tibia (1.5 ± 0.03 mm) than U. ambrosiae (1.4 ± 0.02 mm). No significant differences were detected in the percentage emergence (74.9 ± 7.92 and 87.5% ± 3.31 for U. ambrosiae and M. euphorbiae, respectively), or proportion of female offspring (56.2 ± 7.62 and 44.2 ± 7.14%). The development time from oviposition to adult and longevity of females and males of P. volucre reared on the two host species were not different. High parasitism levels were recorded for both host aphid species, but the percentage parasitism of M. euphorbiae (54.4 ± 4.40) was higher than of U. ambrosiae (35.6 ± 5.30). Female parasitoids reared on M. euphorbiae had longer tibiae (0.78 ± 0.01 mm) than those reared on U. ambrosiae (0.72 ± 0.01 mm). Our results demonstrate that the alternative host species U. ambrosiae, compared to the natural host species M. euphorbiae, affects the female's size, but did not affect parasitoid development time, longevity, emergence or sex ratio. The parasitoid P. volucre seems to be a good candidate for using as a biological control agent of U. ambrosiae on lettuce in Brazil.

Keywords: Biological control, host quality, host size, development, aphid, Uroleucon ambrosiae, Macrosiphum euphorbiae, parasitoid, Praon volucre, Lactuca sativa

Received: September 18, 2007; Accepted: March 13, 2008; Published: July 31, 2008

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