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A comparison of methods for selecting non-target species for risk assessment of the biological control agent Cotesia urabae

Todd, Jacqui H., Barratt, Barbara I. P., Withers, Toni M., Berndt, Lisa A., Gresham, Belinda, Avila, Gonzalo A., Malone, Louise A.
BioControl 2017 v.62 no.1 pp. 39-52
Cotesia, biological control agents, invertebrates, nontarget organisms, oviposition, prioritization, selection criteria, New Zealand
A computer-based tool called PRONTI (priority ranking of non-target invertebrates) has been developed to aid the selection of non-target species (NTS) for pre-release testing with entomophagous biological control agents. To test whether PRONTI can improve NTS selection, we used it to produce a prioritised list of NTS for the agent Cotesia urabae Austin & Allen (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), and compared it with the original list that was produced before this species was released in New Zealand in 2011. While the two lists were similar, with five NTS occurring in the top nine of both lists, the remaining four NTS in the top nine of each list were different, primarily because the selection criteria used by the two methods were weighted differently (e.g., PRONTI put more weight on the likelihood of a NTS being exposed to the agent). Post-release testing has demonstrated that C. urabae is able to oviposit in two NTS that were ranked highly on both lists, suggesting both methods are useful for species selection. The main advantages of PRONTI were considered to be its ability to rank hundreds of NTS simultaneously, and to provide a body of information that can be used to both understand each NTS’ ranking and to justify more objectively the selection of NTS for pre-release testing.