Glycaspis brimblecombei Moore (Hemiptera: Aphalaridae) is an invasive psyllid introduced into the Mediterranean area, where it affects several species of Eucalyptus. Psyllaephagus bliteus Riek (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) is a specialized parasitoid of this psyllid that was accidentally introduced into Italy in 2011. We developed a model of this host-parasitoid system that accounts for the influence of environmental conditions on the G. brimblecombei population dynamics and P. bliteus parasitism rates in the natural ecosystem. The Lotka-Volterra-based model predicts non-constant host growth and parasitoid mortality rates in association with variation in environmental conditions. The model was tested by analyzing sampling data collected in Naples in 2011 (before the parasitoid was present) and defining several environmental patterns, termed Temperature-Rain or T-R patterns, which correspond to the host growth rate. A mean value of the host growth rate was assigned to each T-R pattern, as well as a variation of the parasitoid mortality rate based on temperature thresholds. The proposed model was applied in simulation tests related to T-R patterns carried out with a data series sampled between June 2014 and July 2015 in five Italian sites located in Campania, Lazio, Sicily, and Sardinia regions. The simulation results showed that the proposed model provides an accurate approximation of population trends, although oscillation details may not be apparent. Results predict a 64% reduction in G. brimble-combei population density owing to P. bliteus parasitoid activity. Our results are discussed with respect to features of the host-parasitoid interaction that could be exploited in future biological control programs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science
Margiotta, M., Bella, S., Buffa, F., Caleca, V., Floris, I., Giorno, V., Lo Verde, G., Rapisarda, C., Sasso, R., Suma, P., Tortorici, F., & Laudonia, S. (2017). Modeling environmental influences in the psyllaephagus bliteus (hymenoptera: Encyrtidae)-glycaspis brimblecombei (hemiptera: Aphalaridae) parasitoid-host system. Journal of Economic Entomology, 110(2), 491 - 501. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/tow253