Assessing the host range of the North American parasitoid Ontsira mellipes: potential for biological control of Asian longhorned beetle.
The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) is a high-risk, invasive pest of hardwood trees that has been targeted for eradication in the US since the 1990s. Ontsira mellipes Ashmead (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a native North American parasitoid that has been found to be capable of attacking ALB larvae under laboratory conditions. To investigate the potential host range of O. mellipes we exposed six common North American cerambycid species (Elaphidion mucronatum (Say), Monochamus carolinensis Olivier, Monochamus notatus (Drury), Neoclytus scutellaris Olivier, Xylotrechus colonus (Fabricius), and Xylotrechus sagittatus Germar) and the citrus longhorned beetle (Anoplophora chinensis Forster) to adult O. mellipes for possible oviposition. Results showed that O. mellipes successfully attacked A. glabripennis, A. chinensis, E. mucronatum, M. carolinensis and M. notatus, but did not attack N. scutellaris, X. colonus and X. sagittatus in both choice and no-choice tests. Ontsira mellipes did not show a preference between A. glabripennis and other attacked host species, regardless of the host species on which the tested parasitoids were reared. The number of progeny emerging per parasitized host larva was influenced by the attacked host species and by the interaction between the attacked host species and the size of parasitized larvae. Neither host species nor the size of parasitized larvae influenced the sex ratio (∼80% females) of the parasitoid's offspring. In terms of progeny fitness, the parasitoid preformed equally well on A. glabripennis as on native hosts such as M. carolinensis. The use of O. mellipes as a biological control agent for A. glabripennis is discussed.