First Report of a Mermithid Nematode Infecting the Invasive Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plataspidae)

Monday, March 16, 2015: 2:16 PM
Magnolia F (Beau Rivage Resort & Casino)
Francesca Stubbins , School of Agricultural, Forest and Environmental Sciences, Clemson University, Blackville, SC
Paula Agudelo , Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Francis Reay-Jones , Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Clemson University, Florence, SC
Jeremy K. Greene , School of Agricultural, Forest, and Environmental Sciences, Clemson University, Blackville, SC
The invasive Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plataspidae) has become a pest of soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr., in the southeastern United States. Natural enemies of M. cribraria have been reported in the U.S. including Euthyrhynchus floridus (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), the fungus Beauveria bassiana, indigenous adult parasitoids, Strongygaster triangulifera (Diptera: Tachinidae) and Phasia robertsonii (Diptera: Tachinidae), and an egg parasitoid, Paratelenomus saccharalis (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae), native to the Old World. As part of an ongoing study to determine spatial patterns and to evaluate female reproductive development, M. cribraria adults were collected from Clemson University’s Edisto Research and Education Center, South Carolina, via sweep-net. On 26 July 2014, nematodes were observed beneath the pleural membranes in the abdominal cavities of two females. From July to September, out of 422 females dissected, 20 were parasitized by nematodes (4.7%). The level of infection reached a peak of 16% on 18 August. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a nematode infection in M. cribraria. This discovery adds to the current inventory of native and non-native enemies attacking this insect. Our observations provide a basis for future research to examine the impact of nematodes on M. cribraria mortality and to investigate their capacity to reduce populations.