By Josh Lancette
A new parasitoid wasp species, named Baryscapus dioryctriae, has been discovered in China. The new species is known to parasitize larvae of two species of Dioryctria, which are serious pests of pine trees, and was found during a survey looking for natural enemies of Dioryctria pryeri and D. abietella.
This finding, published today in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America, is important because the new species could potentially be used as a biological control agent. The Dioryctria moth larvae that hurt pine trees are often concealed within the cones, making insecticides generally ineffective. An effective biological control agent such as a parasitoid wasp could provide a way to manage the pest in an environmentally-friendly manner.
“Baryscapus dioryctriae appears to have the characteristics of a superior biological control agent for suppression of its hosts because of its relatively high parasitism rate, the relatively large number of wasp individuals reared from a single host pupa, and the high female:male sex ratio,” write the researchers.
Furthermore, the new species appears to lend itself well to mass rearing, as the researchers successfully reared it on several other related hosts, such as the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) and the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella).
The new species was discovered in a managed forest of Pinus koraiensis (commonly called Korean pine) in Northeast China by researchers from the Jilin Provincial Academy of Forestry Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Forestry.
For a complete description of the new species, see “A new species of Baryscapus (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) parasitizing pupae and larvae of two Dioryctria species (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae),” in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.
Josh Lancette is manager of publications at the Entomological Society of America.