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New European research on Microplitis spinolae

From spring until autumn, the Tomato Looper can cause damage to pepper cultivation. The moth (Chrysodeixis chalcites) is from southern Europe, the Levant and tropical Africa, but can also be found in great parts of Europe because it is a migratory species. In the past, spontaneously occurring enemies, or enemies of related species, were included in the study, especially in the greenhouse. This gave insufficient results. Possibly, these wasps were not adapted to the aggressive behaviour of this caterpillar.

This gave rise to an attempt to detect a species specialized in the moth, mostly in Spain. So far, researchers detected the parasite Trichogramma sp., a solitary species called Hyposoter didymator and a gregarious species called Cotesia vanessae. All three of them were deemed successful.

Interesting for research
For growers, an egg parasite is of particular interest because it prevents the most damage, but trials are still underway. Also, the Trichogramma species are easy to grow. For mass production of H. didymator and C. vanesae, however, no suitable breeding methods are as yet known.

Microplitis spinolae is a newcomer, detected in a Dutch greenhouse. This species makes two different cocoons, one of which is probably intended for hibernation. This makes the M. Spinola interesting for research.

The research is funded by the Product Board for Horticulture and Koppert.


Source: WageningenUR

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