Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Identification, microhabitat, and ecological niche prediction of two promising native parasitoids of Tuta absoluta in Kenya.

Abstract

Associations between the South American tomato pinworm, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), and its native parasitoids need to be updated to increase the implementation of pest control strategies. In this study, T. absoluta-infested tomato plants were collected from three regions in Kenya. The emerged parasitoids were identified, and their abundance was correlated with agroecological parameters, viz. cropping systems, and the abundance of the predator Nesidiocoris tenuis Reuter (Hemiptera: Miridae). The study further conducted a habitat suitability prediction for the identified parasitoids. Two parasitoid species, Bracon nigricans (Szépligeti) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and Stenomesius sp. near japonicus (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) emerged from T. absoluta immature stages, with parasitism rates ranging from 0 to 21% and 0 to 17% respectively. Insecticide application and open field cropping negatively influenced the parasitism by S. sp. nr japonicus. Low occurrence of N. tenuis positively affected B. nigricans parasitism. The predicted occurrence of parasitoid species indicated vast suitable areas for B. nigricans in sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, and South America. Low suitability was observed for S. sp. nr japonicus in Africa. Therefore, native parasitoids, especially B. nigricans could be considered for implementation as a biocontrol agent in the Integrated Pest Management program of T. absoluta.