Evidence of Leaf Consumption Rate Decrease in Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, Larvae Parasitized by Coccygidium luteum

Insects. 2019 Nov 16;10(11):410. doi: 10.3390/insects10110410.


Biological control is one of the best options for the sustainable management of the invasive maize pest Spodoptera frugiperda in Africa. However, there is limited knowledge of the efficacy of native natural enemies of S. frugiperda and their potential use in integrated pest management. The endoparasitoid wasp Coccygidium luteum is one of the natural enemies of S. frugiperda in Africa. This study assessed, under laboratory conditions, the effect of C. luteum on the leaf consumption rate of its host. Fifty first instar S. frugiperda larvae were exposed to C. luteum for oviposition and the maize leaf consumption rate of parasitized larvae was assessed and compared to 50 unparasitized larvae from the same cohort. Coccygidium luteum completed a generation, from egg to adult emergence, in 16.7 days. The leaf consumption rate of parasitized S. frugiperda larvae declined gradually compared to unparasitized larvae and the overall consumption reduction by parasitized S. frugiperda larvae was 89%. Our findings show that C. luteum could reduce damage caused by S. frugiperda to maize farms but, prior to its use in biological control programmes, further studies are needed to assess potential parasitism rates in field conditions and develop a cost-effective mass production system.

Keywords: Coccygidium luteum; Spodoptera frugiperda; biological control; endoparasitoid; fall armyworm; feeding; maize.