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Determinants of parasitoid assemblages of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, in cabbage farmer fields in Senegal

Labou B., Brévault T., Bordat D., Diarra K.. 2016. Crop Protection, 89 : p. 6-11.

DOI: 10.1016/j.cropro.2016.06.018

Conservation biological control, which fosters the optimal use of indigenous natural enemies, is a promising way for reducing pesticide reliance in horticultural systems. A two-year field survey was conducted in the main cabbage-producing area in Senegal (Niayes) to assess the potential of indigenous parasitoids to control populations of Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera, Plutellidae). Results showed an overall low level of parasitism (11.7%) which was independent of host abundance, but was highly variable among fields (0¿50%). Parasitism was predominant in the late part of dry season. Insecticide use, mostly relying on broad-spectrum insecticides, had a negative effect on the overall parasitism rate. Observations conducted throughout the cabbage crop cycle showed that parasitism unexpectedly decreased with crop aging (from 41 to 60 days post transplanting), likely due to repeated insecticide applications. Four main parasitoid species including Oomyzus sokolowskii (Kurdjumov) (Eulophidae) (48.8%), Apanteles litae Nixon (Braconidae) (32.5%), Brachymeria sp. (Chalcididae) (11.3%), and Cotesia vestalis Haliday (Braconidae) (7.3%) were identified. Parasitism due to O. sokolowskii was greater during the first part of the dry season whereas parasitism due to A. litae was greater during the second part of the dry season. Parasitism due to Brachymeria sp. was not affected by time of season but was greater in the Centre and North than in the South of Niayes. Parasitism due to C. vestalis was equal in the three zones but was higher in the late part of the dry season. The diversity of parasitoids was constant across zones but was greater during the second part of dry season. A positive relationship between diversity (Shannon diversity index H') and parasitism rate was observed, suggesting a positive effect of parasitoid diversity on natural pest control. Parasitoids have a promising role to play as biocontrol agents of P. xylostella populations in Senegal, provided significant changes to current insecticide use are made. Better knowledge of their resource requirements including crop and non-crop habitats, and provision of these in and around crops is also needed.

Mots-clés : plutella xylostella; lutte biologique; parasitoïde; brassica; parasitisme; oomyzus; cotesia; apanteles; brachymeria; brassicaceae; variation saisonnière; saison sèche; enquête pathologique; gestion intégrée des ravageurs; sénégal; oomyzus sokolowskii; cotesia vestalis; apanteles litae

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