Biology of Triarthria setipennis (Fallén) (Diptera: Tachinidae), a native parasitoid of the European earwig, Forficula auricularia L. (Dermaptera: Forficulidae), in Europe.
Triarthria setipennis is a tachinid parasitoid of the European earwig (Forficula auricularia) and following introduction from Europe has become established in British Columbia and Newfoundland, where it provides low levels of control. Populations of T. setipennis were surveyed in central Europe during 1989-91 and individual insects reared to identify available biotypes that may be more effective than biotypes already established in Canada. Additional information is provided on parasitoid biology; this could facilitate new introduction of T. setipennis which could be used to augment existing or introduced populations in Canada for the control of F. auricularia. Microclimatic conditions and sufficient territory space for pairs are important to elicit mating activity. Older males mated readily with newly emerged females. The gestation period of mated females is on average 19 days. T. setipennis is ovolarviparous and lays its eggs close to potential hosts. Chemicals are involved in the host-finding and host-acceptance response of the females. Females lay on average 235 eggs. The oviposition period lasts 4-5 days. Once a 1st-instar larva contacted a host, it mounted it and tried to penetrate through the intersegmental skin between the head and thorax, or on the thorax or abdomen; this process takes less than 3 min. Only 16.7% of the parasitoids manage to penetrate the host successfully. The duration of larval development is variable, taking from 2 weeks to 2 months during June and July. Most pupae were obtained during August. Overwintering occurs in the pupal stage. In Germany and in the northwestern part of Switzerland there is one full and a partial second generation per year. The first generation of T. setipennis in southern Austria has a long emergence period and the individuals differ markedly in colour. The highest rate of parasitism in the field was 46.9%.