Searching and oviposition behaviour of Amitus fuscipennis, a parasitoid of the greenhouse whitefly
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Amitus fuscipennis MacGown & Nebeker (Hym., Platygasteridae) is a parasitoid of the greenhouse whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood) (Hom., Aleyrodidae) on some crops as bean and snap bean ( both Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in Colombia. The searching and oviposition behaviour of A. fuscipennis was studied in the laboratory, using T. vaporariorum as a host on bean leaves. The parasitoid's basic search pathway consisted of walking, encountering the host, and drumming and probing it. While walking, the parasitoid stopped for short periods of time, partly to preen itself. Walking while searching comprised 61% of the adults' time budget and probing hosts represented 16%. After a host nymph was parasitized by A. fuscipennis, the parasitoid remained close by and continued searching for new hosts in the immediate vicinity. Such behaviour suggests area-restricted searching. The parasitoid preferred. first instars of T. vaporariorum for oviposition, resulting in long developmental times. Amitus fuscipennis had a high percentage of host acceptance resulting in a high percentage parasitism (60%) of all encountered hosts. Amitus fuscipennis, on average, walked faster before an oviposition (1.4 mm/s) than other whitefly parasitoids. The implications of these findings for the control of T. vaporariorum are discussed.
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