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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Institut Sophia Agrobiotech

UMR INRA - Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis - Cnrs

A PCR-based method for estimating parasitism rates in the olive fly parasitoids Psyttalia concolor and P. lounsburyi (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) (ESIM Team)

Parasitoids of the genus Psyttalia have been repeatedly introduced as biological control agents against the principal pest of olive, Bactrocera oleae.

However, few of the parasitoids released have become established and proved effective. It may however still be possible to find effective biological control agents adapted to local environmental conditions among the highly diverse Psyttalia species and populations infesting B. oleae worldwide. We have thus developed a rapid, sensitive molecular method based on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for estimating and comparing the parasitism success of Psyttalia parasitoids through the detection of eggs and larvae within the host. This method was applied to several populations of Psyttalia concolor and P. lounsburyi. The possible detection of DNA was also demonstrated for other Psyttalia species. A strong correlation was observed between the parasitism rates estimated by PCR, host larva dissection and counts of emerging parasitoids. The rates of parasitism estimated by PCR were significantly higher than those estimated from emergence, suggesting occurrence of mortality during the parasitoid development. This PCR method is thus highly reliable and provides an objective criterion for estimating the efficacy of biological control agent candidates from diverse taxa and populations of Psyttalia.

Graphical abstract illustrating the detection of a parasitoid egg in the host larvae using PCR.

Graphical abstract illustrating the detection of a parasitoid egg in the host larvae using PCR.

  • Mathé-Hubert H, Gatti JL, Poirié M, Malausa T: A PCR-based method for estimating parasitism rates in the olive fly parasitoids Psyttalia concolor and P. lounsburyi (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Biological Control 2013, 67:44–50.