Parasitism of the mealybug Planococcus citri (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) by Coccidoxenoides perminutus (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae)

<p></p><p>ABSTRACT Planococcus citri is an important pest of vine in the Submedium São Francisco River Valley and its parasitism by Coccidoxenoides perminutus, which naturally occurs in this region, was studied by determining the parameters of functional response. The experiments were carried out using grape leaf (cv. Syrah) disks with second instar mealybug at densities of 2, 4, 8, 14, 28, 40, and 50 nymphs. Newly emerged and fed females were confined with the nymphs for 24 h. The parasitism rate resulted in functional response of type III with the parameters handling time (Th) and attack rate (a’) of 0.9824 h and 0.00718 h-1, respectively. A correlation of 94.3% between parasitism observed and estimated by the functional response model was observed, with a maximum of 27 and 24.44 nymphs parasitized in 24 h, respectively. The results showed that the parasitoid exhibited a density-dependent response between 2 and 28 nymphs under the studied conditions. Also, emergence of parasitoids from mummified nymphs were 64 to 95% and varied as a function of the densities used. The results showed that the functional response of C. perminutus to nymphs of P. citri is type III and that the rate of emergence of the parasitoid is influenced by the different densities of P. citri nymphs offered. Based on the functional response determined, C. perminutus presents potential for pest control, contributing with information for a future program of biological control.</p><p></p>