Eur. J. Entomol. 108 (1): 79-85, 2011 | 10.14411/eje.2011.010

Biology of the conifer needle scale, Nuculaspis abietis (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), in northern Iran and parasitism by Aspidiotiphagus citrinus (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae)

Arash RASEKH1, J.P. MICHAUD2, Hassan BARIMANI VARANDI3
1 Department of Plant Protection, College of Agriculture, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran
2 Kansas State University, Agricultural Research Center - Hays, 1232 240th Ave, Hays, KS 67601, USA; e-mail: jpmi@ksu.edu
3 Department of Natural Resources, Agricultural and Natural Resources Research Centre of Mazandaran, Sari, Iran

The conifer needle scale, Nuculaspis abietis (Schrank) emerged as an important pest of conifers in the Kelardasht region of Mazandaran province, Iran, in the late 1990's. This pest feeds on conifer needles and twigs causing needle drop and branch desiccation. Its discovery in Kelardasht in Mazandaran Province necessitated a local quarantine of conifers in the genera Picea, Abies, and Pinus. We studied the life history and ecology of this scale on Norway spruce, Picea abies, under laboratory and natural field conditions. The complete life cycle of females required 206.4 ± 5.7 days in the laboratory (25 ± 1C, 65-75% RH, 14L : 10D) and 315.7 ± 9.3 days under field conditions. In Kelardasht, numbers of adult males and females peaked in mid-June and early May, respectively, and numbers of first and second instar nymphs in mid-July and early September. Lifetime fecundity was estimated to be 57.3 ± 5.1 eggs and 54.0 ± 4.4 nymphs per female under laboratory conditions. The sex ratio ranged from 59% female for second instar nymphs to 71% female for adults. Aspidiotiphagus citrinus (Crawford) (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) was found naturally parasitizing the scale and overwintering in the larval stage on second instar nymphs. First generation adult wasps emerged in spring from overwintered second instar nymphs to parasitize 64.75% of first instar scales. Second generation wasps emerged from early September to mid-October and parasitized 19.75% of second instar scales, for a cumulative parasitism rate of 84.5%.

Keywords: Nuculaspis abietis, Diaspididae, Hemiptera, Aspidiotiphagus citrinus, Aphelinidae, Hymenoptera, Picea abies, Norway spruce, development, host range, parasitism, Iran

Received: June 21, 2010; Accepted: October 12, 2010; Published: January 3, 2011

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