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Acceptability and suitability of Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) for Cotesia icipe Fernandez‐Triana & Fiaboe on amaranth

Agbodzavu, Mawufe Komi, Gikungu, Mary, Lagat, Zipporah Osiemo, Rwomushana, Ivan, Ekesi, Sunday, Fiaboe, Komi Kouma Mokpokpo
Journal of applied entomology 2018 v.142 no.7 pp. 716-724
Amaranthus dubius, Cotesia, Spodoptera exigua, biological control, crop production, females, insects, larvae, mortality, oviposition, parasitism, parasitoids, production technology, pupae, sex ratio, tibia, vegetables, wings
The beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a polyphagous insect that is distributed worldwide and was recently reported as an important pest on African indigenous vegetables. Cotesia icipe Fernandez‐Triana & Fiaboe (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a recently described parasitoid, reported from various Afrotropical countries. This work investigated the performance of C. icipe on S. exigua infesting Amaranthus dubius Mart. ex Thell. under laboratory conditions. Cotesia icipe was aggressive on the host and successfully oviposited on S. exigua with 70% of parasitoid females ovipositing after 2 hr of exposure. Parasitoid densities significantly affected the parasitism rate and the nonreproductive larval mortality. Parasitism rate was 9.7 ± 0.8% and 59.5 ± 3.1% for a single and cohort of five females released, respectively, when offered 50 host larvae. The cohort female release resulted in significantly higher larval nonreproductive mortality than the single release. However, there was no significant difference between parasitoid release densities in regard to pupal nonreproductive mortality. The larval and pupal mortalities in the presence of C. icipe were significantly higher than the natural mortalities at both parasitoid release densities. The parasitoid sex ratio was female‐biased for the cohort females but balanced when a single female was released. The hind tibia and forewing lengths were not affected by the density of female parasitoids but there were variations according to sex. The implication of these findings on the potential use of C. icipe for biological control of S. exigua in amaranth production systems is discussed.