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Bioecology of Stenoma catenifer (Lepidoptera: Elachistidae) and Associated Larval Parasitoids Reared from Hass Avocados in Guatemala

Hoddle, M.S., Hoddle, C.D.
Journal of economic entomology 2008 v.101 no.3 pp. 692-698
Persea americana, avocados, Elachistidae, insect pests, seed predation, larvae, plant damage, mortality, sex ratio, parasitoids, natural enemies, Apanteles, eclosion, longevity, oviposition, branches, pedicel, cultivars, Guatemala
A 10-wk study of the avocado seed-feeding moth Stenoma catenifer Walsingham (Lepidoptera: Elachistidae), was conducted in a commercial 'Hass' avocado (Persea americana Miller [Lauraceae]) orchard in Guatemala. Up to 45% of fruit in the orchard were damaged by larval S. catenifer. Larval-to-adult survivorship for 1,881 S. catenifer larvae in Hass fruit was 37%, and adult sex ratio was 51% female. Four species of larval parasitoid were reared from field-collected S. catenifer larvae. The most common parasitoid reared was a gregarious Apanteles sp., which parasitized 53% of larvae and produced on average eight to nine cocoons per host. Apanteles sp. sex ratio was 47% female and 87% of parasitoids emerged successfully from cocoons. Apanteles sp. longevity was approximately equal to 1.5 d in the absence of food, and when provisioned with honey, parasitoids survived for 5-7 d. The mean number of cocoons produced by Apanteles sp. per host, and larval parasitism rates were not significantly affected by the number of S. catenifer larvae inhabiting seeds. Oviposition studies conducted with S. catenifer in the laboratory indicated that this moth lays significantly more eggs on the branch to which the fruit pedicel is attached than on avocado fruit. When given a choice between Hass and non-Hass avocados, S. catenifer lays up to 2.69 times more eggs on Hass.