Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Determination of temperature thresholds for the parasitoid Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), using life cycle simulation modeling: implications for effective field releases in classical biological control of fruit flies.

Abstract

The braconid parasitoid Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is one of the most important natural enemies in classical biological control programs against tephritid fruit flies worldwide. In light of the spread of the invasive fruit fly species, Bactrocera dorsalis in Africa and beyond, there is a need to implement classical biological control. The current study aimed to determine temperature thresholds for D. longicaudata reared on B. dorsalis, using life cycle simulation modeling to guide informed parasitoid releases in Africa. Simulated parameters included thermal requirements, population growth parameters at different temperature requirements, suitable areas for the establishment, and the number of generations per year under projected climatic conditions. The lower thermal threshold for the development was estimated at 10.0°C, with a thermal constant (k) of 333.3-degree days, while the maximum temperature threshold was estimated at 33.69°C. Fecundity was highest at 25°C, with 177.3 eggs per female. Temperature significantly affected the population growth parameters of D. longicaudata, and the maximum value of the intrinsic rate of increase (rm) was 0.145 at 27°C. Results indicate that D. longicaudata could successfully establish in tropical and sub-tropical regions under current and future climatic conditions. However, a slight change in the suitable areas is expected by the year 2050 due to a slight and gradual rise in temperature. Our findings provide important information for further release of this parasitoid in Africa as well as designing pest management strategies to limit the spread and reduce the impact of fruit flies sustainably.