Prospects for classical biological control of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in invaded areas using parasitoids from the Americas
Published: March, 2023
Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) is a polyphagous agricultural pest threatening food security worldwide. This American species recently invaded most of Africa, many Asian countries, and Oceania, where it mainly damages maize. Classical biological control (CBC) through the introduction of natural enemies from its area of origin is considered as a potential management approach. The paper reviews the prospects and constraints of a CBC programme against S. frugiperda using larval parasitoids, which are considered the most suitable natural enemies for introduction against this pest. The most important larval parasitoids in its native range are presented and discussed for their suitability as CBC agents, based the following criteria: their frequency of occurrence and parasitism levels, specificity, climatic suitability and absence of closely related species parasitizing S. frugiperda in the area of introduction. The ichneumonid Eiphosoma laphygmae Costa-Lima (Hymenoptera: Icheumonidae) is considered as a potential candidate for introduction because of its specificity and its importance as a parasitoid of the pest in most of its native range. The most frequent and important parasitoid of S. frugiperda in the Americas, the braconid Chelonus insularis Cresson (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), would most probably contribute to the control of S. frugiperda if released in invaded areas. However, it is oligophagous and would most certainly parasitize nontarget species. Before introducing C. insularis, or any other parasitoid species, the potential nontarget effects will have to be assessed and the risks will have to be weighed against the benefits of improving the natural control of this important pest.