Natural enemies of fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in different agro-ecologies.
Fall armyworm (FAW) Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) and southern armyworm (SAW) Spodoptera eridania (Stoll) have become major threats to crops in Africa since 2016. African governments adopted emergency actions around chemical insecticides, with limited efforts to assess the richness or roles of indigenous natural enemies. Field surveys and laboratory studies were conducted to identify and assess the performance of parasitoids associated with spodopterans in Cameroon. FAW was the most abundant spodopteran pest. Telenomus remus (Nixon), Trichogramma chilonis (Ishi), Charops sp. (Szépligeti), Coccygidium luteum (Cameron), Cotesia icipe (Fernandez & Fiaboe), and Cotesia sesamiae (Cameron) are the first records in the country on spodopterans. Telenomus remus, T. chilonis, C. icipe, and Charops sp. were obtained from both FAW and SAW; C. luteum and C. sesamiae from FAW. The distribution of spodopterans, their endoparasitoids, and parasitism rates varied with host, season and location. In the laboratory, T. remus showed significantly higher parasitism on FAW than SAW, and significant differences in the development parameters between the two host eggs, with shorter development time on FAW. It induced significant non-reproductive mortality on FAW but not on SAW. Developmental parameters showed that C. icipe has a shorter development time compared to other larval parasitoids. Implications for conservative and augmentative biocontrol are discussed.