Eur. J. Entomol. 110 (3): 519-525, 2013 | 10.14411/eje.2013.069

Morphometric indicators for quality assessment in the aphid parasitoid, Lysiphlebus fabarum (Braconidae: Aphidiinae)

Mohammad AMERI1, Arash RASEKH*,1, J.P. MICHAUD2, Hossein ALLAHYARI3
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
3 Department of Plant Protection, College of Agriculture, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran

Body size is a standard criterion of quality control in insect rearing and often assumed to correlate with fitness in parasitoid wasps, but various metrics of body size can be used. The purpose of this study was to determine which morphological feature provides the best correlation with body size and egg load in a thelytokous population of the parasitoid wasp, Lysiphlebus fabarum (Marshall), when reared on Aphis fabae Scopoli under standardized conditions in a growth chamber (21 ± 1C, 60-70% RH, and 16L : 8D). Candidate metrics included head width, length and width of the pronotum, length and width of the right forewing, and length of the right hind tibia. In the first experiment, correlations were determined between these measurements and overall wasp body length. As head width and hind tibia length emerged as the most suitable proxies for total body length, the next experiment these two variables as proxies for egg load in females reared from different nymphal instars of the host aphid. There was a non-linear relationship between body size and egg load of wasps emerging from hosts parasitized in different nymphal instars. Egg load increased linearly with body size across all host growth stages, but the second nymphal instar was the most suitable stage for parasitism when speed of development was factored in. The results suggest that head width is a suitable morphometric for monitoring quality control in mass-reared cultures of this wasp.

Keywords: Braconidae, Aphidiinae, Lysiphlebus fabarum, Aphis fabae, body size, egg load, mass rearing, quality control

Received: August 12, 2012; Accepted: March 11, 2013; Published: July 11, 2013

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