Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Effectiveness of different release rates of Trichogramma cacoeciae (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) against Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in protected and open field tomato crops in Tunisia.

Abstract

Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) is a key insect pest of tomato crop causing major economic losses worldwide. Biological control using Trichogramma parasitoids is considered a promising, eco-friendly management tactic of this pest. We performed inundative releases of Trichogramma cacoeciae (Marchal) (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) against T. absoluta in Takelsa (northeastern Tunisia). Three weekly releases of either (i) 10, 20 or 30 Trichogramma per plant in protected (greenhouse) tomato crops or (ii) 20 or 40 Trichogramma per plant in open field tomatoes were evaluated for their effectiveness. Results indicated that 20 Trichogramma per plant was the most effective release rate in significantly decreasing the pest's life stage densities. Parasitism rates were significantly higher on apical tomato leaves (estimated at 58.6% for the rate 20 Trichogramma per plant in greenhouses and at about 56% for the rate 40 Trichogramma per plant in open field) compared to those observed on middle leaves (24.6% and 45.26% for rate 2 respectively under greenhouse and open field conditions). Furthermore, the overall number of T. absolua eggs and larvae was significantly reduced after releases of Trichogramma parasitoids. These results clearly indicate that T. cacoeciae could be a promising biocontrol agent of T. absoluta in the largest tomato-producing area in Tunisia.