Authors: ANABELA NAVE, FÁTIMA GONÇALVES, RITA TEIXEIRA, CRISTINA AMARO COSTA, MERCEDES CAMPOS, LAURA M. TORRES
Abstract: The olive moth, Prays oleae (Bernard) (Lepidoptera: Praydidae), is one of the most important pests of olive trees throughout the Mediterranean region, the Black Sea, the Middle East, and the Canary Islands. Thus, it is particularly important to develop alternative strategies to control this pest. Over a 4-year period, a survey was done in order to acquire knowledge about the complex of parasitoids associated with this pest. Leaves, flowers, and fruit infested with larvae and pupae of P. oleae were collected from olive groves, conditioned in vials, and kept under laboratory conditions until the emergence of P. oleae adults or parasitoids. The abundance and richness of parasitoids as well as the rate of parasitism was estimated. Hymenoptera parasitoids were found to be responsible for 43% of the mean mortality of the sampled individuals. From the 22 parasitoid species recorded, three dominated in terms of the provoked parasitism rates: Ageniaspis fuscicollis (Dalman) (Encyrtidae), Chelonus elaeaphilus Silvestri (Braconidae), and Elasmus flabellatus (Fonscolombe) (Elasmidae) (Hymenoptera). Additionally, several of the identified taxa were reported for the first time in Portugal as parasitoids of P. oleae. Moreover, a strong relationship between the species of parasitoids and the generation of the pest was found. Given the moth's presence and its impact on olive tree production worldwide, the outcomes of this study show a rich complex of parasitoids that naturally occurs in association with P. oleae, causing high mortality rates, and highlight the importance of these beneficial parasites in the control of this pest.
Keywords: Olive, olive moth, parasitoids, Ageniaspis fuscicollis, Chelonus elaeaphilus, Elasmus flabellatus, Portugal
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