Trichogramma egg parasitism of Helicoverpa armigera on pigeonpea and sorghum in southern India

Romeis, J and Shanower, T G and Zebitz, C P W (1999) Trichogramma egg parasitism of Helicoverpa armigera on pigeonpea and sorghum in southern India. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 90 (1). pp. 69-81.

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Trichogramma spp. only rarely parasitize eggs of Helicoverpa armigera on pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan), while on other plants including sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) high parasitism levels of this host are found. In this study two strategies designed to increase the parasitoid activity on pigeon pea were tested in the field in 1994-97: intercropping pigeon pea with sorghum and mass-releasing T. chilonis. Neither strategy led to an increase in parasitism. On pigeon pea, H. armigera oviposited >74.8% of its eggs on calyxes and pods. Parasitism levels in host eggs collected from different plant structures varied significantly with 3.6, 0.3, and 40.7% of eggs on calyxes, pods, and leaves parasitized. Earlier studies have shown that calyxes and pods possess long glandular and non-glandular trichomes, and are covered by sticky trichome exudates which inhibit parasitoid searching behaviour. Parasitism levels between 27.9 and 100% were recorded from host eggs on the intercropped sorghum. Trichogramma chilonis was the dominant parasitoid species. The mean clutch size was 2.03, but up to six parasitoids emerged per egg. Progeny sex ratio (% females) decreased with clutch size, from 63.1% at a clutch size of one to 46.0% at a clutch size of five. Sticky trap catches showed that while the parasitoid population in sorghum increased when H. armigera started ovipositing, the population within pigeon pea did not benefit from either a high parasitoid population in sorghum or a high host egg density on pigeon pea. During one of five seasons studied, however, high parasitism levels (up to 73%) were recorded on pigeon pea. During this season, H. armigera oviposited on pigeon pea plants in the vegetative growth stage and a high proportion of eggs were collected from leaves. Parasitism levels were positively correlated with the percentage of eggs collected from leaves. This study shows that the parasitization efficiency of Trichogramma spp. on pigeon pea depends mainly on the location of the host eggs. This explains why parasitism levels of H. armigera eggs on pigeon pea did not increase when intercropped with sorghum or after mass-releasing T. chilonis.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Mandate crops > Pigeonpea
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2011 07:56
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2011 07:56
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED

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