Effect of continuous rearing on courtship acoustics of five braconid parasitoids, candidates for augmentative biological control of Anastrepha species.
The courtship acoustics of five species of parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), potential candidates for augmentative biological control of Anastrepha (Schiner) species (Diptera: Tephritidae), were compared between recently colonized individuals and those continuously reared 70-148 generations. During courtship, males of these parasitoid species fan their wings and produce a series of low amplitude pulses. The first series of 15 or more continuous courtship pulses was used to measure the pulse duration, frequency, and interpulse interval (IPI) from the beginning, middle, and end of the pulse series. Each parameter was compared between young and old colonies, and among species. Several differences in courtship acoustics were detected in colonies that had been continuously reared. The pulse duration at the end of the pulse series was longer in old colonies for Doryctobracon crawfordi (Viereck) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), but shorter for old colonies of Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). The IPI of the middle pulse was shorter in old colonies of Opius hirtus (Fischer) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), and was also shorter at the last pulse for old colonies of both Utetes anastrephae (Viereck) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and D. longicaudata. The duration of the middle pulse distinguished the three native species, and separated the two introduced species from each other. We discuss our findings in light of their biological and applied implications, particularly those dealing with quality control of mass-reared parasitoids.