Indigenous natural enemies attacking fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Ghana.
Background and Objective: The Fall Armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda(Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a novel invasive pest in Africa but has established as a major pest of maize. Maize fields across six ecozones were surveyed for indigenous natural enemies of S. frugiperda in Ghana. Materials and Methods: Fifty maize plants showing signs of S. frugiperda infestation were sampled from three farms in each of the forty-eight districts blocked within all the six agro-ecological zones of Ghana. Collected S. frugiperda eggs and larvae were cultured in a laboratory for parasitoid emergence and percent parasitism determined. Results: Five species of egg and larval natural parasitoids comprising three Braconidae Coccygidium luteum Brullé, Chelonus sp. and Cotesia sp., one Ichneumonidae Campoletis sonorensis (Cameron) and one Tachinidae Exorista sp. were identified. Among the predators recorded were coccinellids (Harmonia octomaculata [F.] and Coccinella transversalis [F.]) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), earwigs and spiders. C. luteum was the dominant natural parasitoid and also exhibited the highest field parasitism level, 6.38-10.71%. Parasitism levels of the other parasitoids ranged between 2.56-3.45%. The seemingly low field parasitism observed could be attributed to the high application of broad-spectrum insecticides which inadvertently is inimical to their development. Conclusion: Some indigenous parasitoids are adapting to S. frugiperda. Further exploration and protection of natural enemies through ecofriendly practices in a comprehensive IPM program is imperative for sustainable management of S. frugiperda.