Survey of indigenous parasitoids affecting the invasive chestnut gall wasp Dryocosmus kuriphilus in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region (North-East Italy).
The Asian chestnut gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae), is one of the most damaging insect pests on Castanea sativa Miller trees (Fagales, Fagaceae) worldwide. Dryocosmus kuriphilus galls were collected between late May and August 2014 from 11 sites in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of North-East Italy, differing in elevation and forest cover composition. The number of parasitoids that emerged was higher than the number of D. kuriphilus specimens that emerged for 5 out of 11 sites considered. The mean number of larval chambers per gall dissected was between 1.5 and 2.8 (for the 11 different sites). There were no fewer than 2-3 specimens of parasitoids emerging per 100 galls, in all sites. The parasitoids identified belonged to five different Chalcidoidea families (Torymidae, Eupelmidae, Eurytomidae, Pteromalidae and Eulophidae). Among them, Torymidae and Eupelmidae represented approximately 90% of the total hymenopteran parasitoids. The most represented species were Torymus flavipes (Walker), Megastigmus dorsalis (Fabricius) and Eupelmus urozonus Dalman, all indigenous parasitoids of species causing oak galls. All identified parasitoids were already known to be associated with D. kuriphilus in Italy. These data support the hypothesis of a high species richness of this parasitoid community.