Australian native flowering plants enhance the longevity of three parasitoids of brassica pests

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Abstract

Floral resources from native plants that are adapted to the local environment could be more advantageous than the use of nonnative plants. In Australia, there is a dearth of information on the benefits of native plants to natural enemies and their selectivity against pests. Accordingly, we examined the longevity of the parasitoids Diaeretiella rapae (McIntosh) and Cotesia glomerata (L.) (both Hymenoptera: Braconidae), and Diadegma semiclausum (Hellen) (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) exposed to flowering shoots from Australian native plants which was compared with the nonnative buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), often used in conservation biological control. Longevity of parasitoids was significantly enhanced by the Australian natives Westringia fruticosa, Mentha satureioides, Callistemon citrinus, Leptospermum cv. 'Rudolph', Grevillea cv. 'Bronze Rambler', Myoporum parvifolium, Lotus australis, and nonnative F. esculentum. The highest mean survival by native plant species was 3.4× higher for D. rapae with Leptospermum sp. and 4.3× higher for D. semiclausum with M. parvifolium. For C. glomerata, Grevillea sp. increased longevity by 6.9× compared with water only. Longevity of Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), a major crop pest, was enhanced by all plants against which it was screened except Acacia baileyana, a species that had no effect on parasitoid longevity. Several Australian native plant species that benefit parasitoids were identified. None of the plant species provided a selective benefit to the parasitoid D. semiclausum compared with its host P. xylostella; however, the benefit of M. parvifolium and Grevillea sp. on the longevity of D. semiclausum was relatively higher compared with the pest. These results suggest the need for field studies to determine whether native Australian plants increase P. xylostella impact in nearby brassica crops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-276
Number of pages11
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Volume166
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

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