Native parasitoids may play an important role in biological control. They may either support or hinder the effectiveness of introduced nonnative parasitoids released for pest control purposes. Results of a three-year survey (2011-2013) of the Asian chestnut gall wasp (ACGW) Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) populations and on parasitism rates by native indigenous parasitoids (a complex of chalcidoid hymenopterans) in Italian chestnut forests are given. Changes in D. kuriphilus gall size and phenology were observed through the three years of study. A total of 13 species of native parasitoids were recorded, accounting for fluctuating parasitism rates. This variability in parasitism rates over the three years was mainly due to the effect of Torymus flavipes (Walker) (Hymenoptera: Torymidae), which in 2011 accounted for 75% of all parasitoid specimens yet decreased drastically in the following years. This strong fluctuation may be related to climatic conditions. Besides, our data verified that parasitoids do not choose host galls based on their size, though when they do parasitize smaller ones, they exploit them better. Consequently, ACGWs have higher chances of surviving parasitism if they are inside larger galls.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science