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CAB Review

Factors affecting utility of Chilocorus nigritus (F.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) as a biocontrol agent.

Abstract

Chilocorus nigritus (F.) has been one of the most successful coccidophagous coccinellids in the history of classical biological control. It is an effective predator of many species of Diaspididae, some Coccidae and some Asterolecaniidae, with an ability to colonize a relatively wide range of tropical and sub-tropical environments. It appears to have few natural enemies, a rapid numerical response and an excellent capacity to coexist in stable relationships with parasitoids. A great deal of literature relating to its distribution, biology, ecology, mass rearing and prey preferences exists, but there is much ambiguity and the beetle sometimes inexplicably fails to establish, even when conditions are apparently favourable. This review brings together the key research relating to factors that affect its utility in biocontrol programmes, including its use in indoor landscapes and temperate glasshouses. Data are collated and interpreted and areas where knowledge is lacking are identified. Recommendations are made for prioritizing further research and improving its use in biocontrol programmes.