Wednesday, December 12, 2001 -

Euplectrus (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) of North America: Biology, taxonomy and biocontrol

Michael Gates and Michael E. Schauff. Systematic Entomology Laboratory PSI, USDA ARS, National Museum of Natural History, NHB 168, 10th St. NW & Constitution Ave, Washington, DC

Over 100 nominal species of Euplectrus (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) exist worldwide, with 15 in North America (Noyes 1998). They parasitize larvae of numerous families of free-living lepidopterous larvae as external, gregarious parasitoids (Gerling & Limon 1976). Females inject venom into the caterpillar during oviposition, arresting further molting, allowing the developing parasitoid larvae to remain attached successfully (Coudron & Puttler 1988, Coudron & Brandt 1996). The arrestant has utility in biocontrol with E. puttleri Gordh successfully established in the United States against the velvetbean caterpillar, Anticarsia gemmatalis Hübner (Puttler et al. 1980) and remains effective (B. Puttler, pers. comm.). Of more immediate concern is the continuing spread of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (L.) in North America. Despite widespread efforts employing diverse suppression strategies, this pest continues spreading. Although numerous parasitoids have been introduced against it (some established) (Reardon, webpage), Euplectrus liparidis Ferrière, an apparent specialist on L. dispar from the Palearctic region, has been overlooked as a potential biocontrol agent. Currently, detailed biological information and modern illustrated keys are unavailable for North American species. Treatments of Euplectrus for this region over the past century are outdated (Burks 1979; Girault 1916; Gonzalez, unpublished 1985). A revision of Euplectrus would be a useful and timely addition to the arsenal of contemporary biocontrol workers and would provide the foundation for future work utilizing this group. Results from preliminary taxonomic examination of Nearctic species of Euplectrus indicate that some species are likely synonymous and that new species exist, particularly from the southern and southwestern United States.

Species 1: Hymenoptera Eulophidae Euplectrus
Keywords: Eulophidae, Biological Control

The ESA 2001 Annual Meeting - 2001: An Entomological Odyssey of ESA