Hem Saxenaa, Duraimurugan Ponnusamya, Mir Asif Iquebal. Seasonal parasitism and biological characteristics of Habrobracon hebetor (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) - a potential larval ectoparasitoid of Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in a chickpea ecosystem
Article. — Biocontrol Science and Technology. — 2012. — №22(3). — С. 305-318. Seasonal parasitism of Habrobracon hebetor (Say) on Helicoverpa armigera (Hu¨bner) in chickpea was studied for three consecutive years. Parasitism by H. hebetor on larvae of H. armigera reached 12.3%. The parasitoid maintained reproductive activity on H. armigera from February to April coinciding with pod formation and maturation stages of the crop. In laboratory assays, we investigated the suitability of larval instars of H. armigera to the parasitoid H. hebetor. This parasitoid attacked third to sixth instars, though fourth and fifth instar larvae were found most suitable with 100% parasitism and development to adults. Parasitoid developmental time was longest in fifth instar (9.1 days) compared to other instars (8.18.9 days). Fifth instar larvae resulted in highest numbers of cocoons and adult emergence. In addition, suitability of seven lepidopteran species to H. hebetor was investigated. Corcyra cephalonica, Galleria mellonella and H. armigera were the most suitable hosts with 100% parasitism and development to adults. It was followed by Maruca vitrata and Autographa nigrisigna with 6076.7% and 4070% parasitism and parasitoid developmental success, respectively. Though there was 23.3% parasitism, there was no parasitoid development in Spodoptera litura. No parasitism was recorded in Spilarctia obliqua. Development of H. hebetor was most rapid in C. cephalonica (8.7 days), and longest in G. mellonella (9.3 days). Parasitoids that developed on these hosts resulted in highest numbers of cocoons and adult emergence. The parasitoid could be exploited for the biological control of H. armigera in a chickpea ecosystem.
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