Survey and bioecological studies on the natural enemy complex of Indian gypsy moth, Lymantria obfuscata Walker (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae).
A survey of the natural enemies of Lymantria obfuscata, a potential pest of deciduous fruit and forest trees in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, India, was conducted in 1980-83. Developmental stages of the pest were collected from infested trees of Salix babylonica, Populus nigra, apple, Prunus communis [P. dulcis] and walnut at various localities. A complex of 47 species of parasites and predators was reared from the different developmental stages of the pest. The biology of the most promising natural enemies, the eupelmid Anastatus kashmirensis, the tachinid Exorista rossica, the braconid Apanteles indiensis and the carabid Calosoma himalayanum, was studied in the laboratory and field. These species were widely distributed in all host-inhabited niches and their numbers remained markedly stable. The biotic potential and possibilities of their integration as biological control agents in a pest management programme of L. obfuscata is discussed.