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A regional analysis of weather mediated competition between a parasitoid and a coccinellid predator of oleander scale

Gutierrez, A.P., Pizzamiglio, M.A.
Neotropical entomology 2007 v.36 no.1 pp. 70-83
Aphytis, parasitoids, Coccinellidae, predators, biological control agents, natural enemies, ecological competition, Aspidiotus nerii, insect pests, plant pests, insect control, biological control, Umbellularia californica, host-parasite relationships, predator-prey relationships, mathematical models, dynamic models, simulation models
The regulation of an asexual population of the oleander scale [Aspidiotus nerii Bouchè (Hemiptera: Diaspididae)] on California bay tree [Umbellularia californica (Hopk. & Arn.) Nut.] by two natural enemies; an idiobiont, ectoparasitoid Aphytis chilensis Howard (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) and a coccinellid predator (Rhysobius lophanthae (Blaisd.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), was examined using a general weather-driven, tri-trophic, physiologically based age-mass structured demographic model. The model is of intermediate complexity and was parameterized using extensive laboratory data and field observations from Albany, CA. Temperature-dependent physiological indices were estimated from the laboratory data and used to scale per capita growth, fecundity and survivorship rates from maximal values in a time varying environment. The tri-trophic model was integrated in a GIS (geographic information system) and the species dynamics examined across years and across the ecological zones of California. Field data and simulation results suggested the coccinellid predator was the most important regulating agent of oleander scale in the mild climate of Albany. However, multiple linear regression analysis of simulation data across all ecological zones of California shows that the parasitoid A. chilensis is the most important agent in suppressing oleander scale densities in warmer climates, while the predator R. lophanthae increases scale density an average of 9.7% across all regions.