Potential of the Parasitoid Tetrastichus howardi (Olliff, 1893) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) on the Control of Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner, 1805) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

  •  Juliana Simonato    
  •  Harley N. de Oliveira    
  •  José F. J. Grigolli    
  •  Mirian M. Kubota Grigolli    
  •  Ivana F. da Silva    


Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner, 1805) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is an insect pest that attacks several cultures and has been a cause of concern in Brazil. The objective of this study was to evaluate parasitism in pupae and caterpillars of H. armigera by Tetrastichus howardi (Olliff, 1893) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), in laboratory, as well as checking if T. howardi parasitoid has the ability to locate and infect H. armigera. In the laboratory, pupae of H. armigera and Diatraea saccharalis (Fabricius, 1794) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) were exposed to 15 T. howardi females for 24 hours. Third, fourth and fifth instars of H. armigera were exposed to three T. howardi females for 24 hours. In the field experiment, cages were installed. Ten caterpillars of the fifth instar of H. armigera were released in each cage and waited for the necessary period for them to soak in the soil. After this period, 150 T. howardi females were released in each of four cages and in one cage there was no release of parasitoids. In the laboratory, the percentage of parasitized and emergent pupae was 100% in both hosts. The life cycle of T. howardi in H. armigera pupae was 15 days, and for D. saccharalis it was 16 days. The progeny was significantly larger for the host H. armigera (689.00) compared to D. saccharalis (358.27). The sex ratio was 0.91 and 0.87 for H. armigera and D. saccharalis, respectively. The longevity of males (25.60 days) and females (26.95 days) in the treatment with H. armigera differed from the treatment with D. saccharalis, which was 21.70 days for males and 22.95 days for females. For the experiment with H. armigera caterpillars, it was found that only two caterpillars from the fifth instar were parasitized with emergence of parasitoids in the pupal phase, with a progeny of 81 individuals; egg-adult cycle was 19.5 days; sex ratio of 0.88; male longevity was 19.6 days and for females 20.3 days. Despite the high rate of parasitism of T. howardi in H. armigera pupae in the laboratory, the same did not occur for caterpillars. In the field evaluation, of the total of 50 caterpillars released in the cages, 34 pupae were collected. Of these, 31 pupae had emergence of the H. armigera moth. No parasitism by T. howardi was found in H. armigera pupae. Further studies should be conducted to evaluate T. howardi parasitism in H. armigera pupae under field conditions.

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