War of the wasps: is Diadegma insulare or Microplitis plutellae a more effective parasitoid of the Diamondback Moth, Plutella xylostella?

Adamo Young


Parasitism levels by Diadegma insulare (Muesebeck) (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) and Microplitis plutellae (Haliday) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) at various densities of their host, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), were assessed. Cages with densities of 10 hosts, 20 hosts, and 40 hosts were set up, with the cage volume (40 500 cm3) and number of wasps (2 females) remaining constant. The host populations were also exposed to the wasps for two different exposure times: 1 day and 3 days. The study showed that D. insulare was a better parasitoid overall, achieving a level of parasitism equal to or higher than M. plutellae at all densities. Microplitis plutellae performed best at a lower host density (76% ± 9% of 10 hosts vs. 43% ± 3% of 40 hosts). Diadegma insulare performed similarly at all densities tested (75% ± 5% of 10 hosts, 83% ± 4% of 20 hosts, and 79% ± 6% of 40 hosts). This suggests that D. insulare may be the better parasitoid overall and should be applied in severe, large-scale infestations, while M. plutellae may be better for small-scale infestations.


Diamondback Moth; Plutella xylostella; Microplitis plutellae; Diadegma insulare; parasitoids; biological control

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