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J Insect Sci. 2010;10:30. doi: 10.1673/031.010.3001.

Biology and behavior of Spathius agrili, a parasitoid of the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, in China.

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The Key Laboratory of Forest Protection, State Forestry Administration of China, Research Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China.


Spathius agrili Yang (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a gregarious larval ectoparasitoid of the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) and is a recently described species. Both pest and parasitoid are native to China. In Tianjin City, China, S. agrili typically exhibited 3-4 generations per year, overwintering as a prepupa in a cocoon inside the host gallery. The multiple generations of S. agrili overlapped with its host, as did the emergence dates of the overwintering generation. From a single host, 1-18 S. agrili successfully developed to the adult stage (average 8.4), but in all cases the host was killed. The sex ratio (female: male) of the parasitoid adults emerging from field-collected cocoons was 2:1, whereas the sex ratio of parasitoids reared from field collected eggs and larvae was greater than 3:1. On average, adult females lived 29.1 d, and males lived 23.6 d when fed with 20% honey solution, significantly longer than without a nutritional supplement. Sexual reproduction is the normal mode of reproduction, but in the laboratory females did reproduce parthenogenetically, producing only males. The average fecundity was 23.3 eggs per female in the laboratory. S. agrili developed through five larval instars, and the larvae fed gregariously on the host hemolymph. The generation time from egg to adult wasp was 27-28 d at 22-26 degrees C. Natural parasitism rates were as high as 60%, and in October they reached over 90% in some stands. This study showed that S. agrili is a promising agent for biocontrol of A. planipennis.

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