Limited host range in the idiobiont parasitoid Phymastichus Coffea, a prospective biological control agent of the coffee pest Hypothenemus hampei in Hawaii.
Phymastichus coffea LaSalle (Hymenoptera:Eulophidae) is an adult endoparasitoid of the coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) (Coleoptera:Curculionidae:Scolytinae), which has been introduced in many coffee producing countries as a biological control agent. To determine the effectiveness of P. coffea against H. hampei and environmental safety for release in Hawaii, we investigated the host selection and parasitism response of adult females to 43 different species of Coleoptera, including 23 Scolytinae (six Hypothenemus species and 17 others), and four additional Curculionidae. Non-target testing included Hawaiian endemic, exotic and beneficial coleopteran species. Using a no-choice laboratory bioassay, we demonstrated that P. coffea was only able to parasitize the target host H. hampei and four other adventive species of Hypothenemus: H. obscurus, H. seriatus, H. birmanus and H. crudiae. Hypothenemus hampei had the highest parasitism rate and shortest parasitoid development time of the five parasitized Hypothenemus spp. Parasitism and parasitoid emergence decreased with decreasing phylogenetic relatedness of the Hypothenemus spp. to H. hampei, and the most distantly related species, H. eruditus, was not parasitized. These results suggest that the risk of harmful non-target impacts is low because there are no native species of Hypothenemus in Hawaii, and P. coffea could be safely introduced for classical biological control of H. hampei in Hawaii.