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common name: wasp parasitoid
scientific name: Doryctobracon areolatus (Szépligeti) (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Braconidae)

Introduction - Distribution - Description - Life Cycle - Hosts - Economic Importance - Selected References

Introduction (Back to Top)

Doryctobracon areolatus (Szépligeti, 1911), formerly Parachasma cereum (Gahan), is a parasitoid of Anastrepha spp. in the Neo- and subtropics (Ovruski et al. 2000). It was introduced into Florida and the Dominican Republic for control of the Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa (Loew) (Diptera: Tephritidae), and the West Indian fruit fly, A. obliqua (Macquart) (Baranowski et al. 1993, Serra et al. 2011) (see Host Table below).

Adult male Doryctobracon areolatus (Szépligeti), a parasitoid wasp of Anastrepha spp.

Figure 1. Adult male Doryctobracon areolatus (Szépligeti), a parasitoid wasp of Anastrepha spp. Photograph by Charles Stuhl, USDA-ARS-CMAVE Gainesville, Florida.

Distribution (Back to Top)

Doryctobracon areolatus is the most widely distributed, Neotropical/subtropical, larval-prepupal parasitoid of Anastrepha (Ovruski et al. 2000, López et al. 1999). Its range extends from Florida (where it was introduced in 1969) deep into South America (Sivinski et al. 1997). At one time, it was abundant in the Florida peninsula to well north of Lake Okeechobee (Eitam et al. 2004). Recently, its numbers appear to have declined, perhaps from competition with other fruit fly parasitoids and/or climate change

Description (Back to Top)

Adult: Doryctobracon areolatus is a larval-prepupal synovigenic (produce eggs over the life of the adult), endoparasitic koinobiont (parasitoid allows the host to continue development and does not kill the host until the parasitoid larva pupates) that develops particularly well in 2nd instar larvae (Wharton and Marsh 1978). The adult body coloration is yellow to orange with clear wings, and the apical abdominal tergites in males are often black (Wharton and Marsh 1978). The labrum is usually visible and the clypeus is relatively short compared to some of the other Doryctobracon species, with an ovipositor length of ~3.8 mm (Sivinski and Aluja 2003).

Adult female Doryctobracon areolatus (Szépligeti), a parasitoid wasp of Anastrepha spp.

Figure 2. Adult female Doryctobracon areolatus (Szépligeti), a parasitoid wasp of Anastrepha spp. Photograph by Charles Stuhl, USDA-ARS-CMAVE Gainesville, Florida.

There is a very distinctive banding pattern on the hind tibia.

Hind leg of an adult female Doryctobracon areolatus (Szépligeti), a parasitoid wasp of Anastrepha spp.

Figure 3. Hind leg of an adult female Doryctobracon areolatus (Szépligeti), a parasitoid wasp of Anastrepha spp. Photograph by Charles Stuhl, USDA-ARS-CMAVE Gainesville, Florida.

The Cu2 submarginal cell of the forewing is 4-sided (Wharton and Marsh 1978, Sivinski et al. 2001) and this shape distinguishes it from the two other opiine braconid wasps attacking A. suspensa in Florida.

Forewing of Doryctobracon areolatus (Szépligeti), a parasitoid wasp of Anastrepha spp.

Figure 4. Forewing of Doryctobracon areolatus (Szépligeti), a parasitoid wasp of Anastrepha spp. Drawing by Division of Plant Industry.

Forewing (top) and hindwing (bottom) of an adult Doryctobracon areolatus(Szépligeti), a parasitoid wasp of Anastrepha spp.

Figure 5. Forewing (top) and hindwing (bottom) of an adult Doryctobracon areolatus(Szépligeti), a parasitoid wasp of Anastrepha spp. Photograph by Charles Stuhl, USDA-ARS-CMAVE Gainesville, Florida.

Life Cycle (Back to Top)

Doryctobracon areolatus forages for larvae in ripe fruit on the tree and, unlike some related species, seldom investigates fallen fruit. The females are attracted to fruit volatiles in their search for food and fly hosts. Host location within the fruit is mediated by antennation (sensing information by touching antennae) and perhaps probing with the ovipositor to detect compounds unique to larval hosts (Stuhl et al. 2011b). The adult female inserts a single egg inside the body of the fly larvae. Upon hatching, the parasitoid larva remains in the first instar stage until the host pupates. The development time from egg to adult parasitoid is temperature dependent, but usually takes about two weeks.

Adult foods consist of fruit juices expelling from ovipositor-wounded or infested fruit (Stuhl et al. 2011a) and other plant-produced substances such as extrafloral nectar and hemipteran honeydew. Fruit juice consumption allows the parasitoid to forage for both food and hosts in the same habitat and thus eliminates the expense and danger of separate forays to locate carbohydrates (Stuhl et al. 2011a).

Hosts (Back to Top)

Some fruit fly hosts and fruit fly host plant species of Doryctobracon areolatus (Aluja et al. 2000, Aluja et al. 2003).

Fruit Fly Host Fruit Fly Host Plant
Anastrepha alveata Ximenia americana L.
Anastrepha aphelocentema Pouteria hypoglauca (Standl.) Baehni
Anastrepha bahiensis Brosimum alicastrum Sw.
Myrciaria floribunda (H. West ex Willd.) O. Berg
Anastrepha cebra Quararibea funebris (La Llave) Visher
Anastrepha fraterculus Ampelocera hottle Standl.
Psidium guajava L.
Syzygium jambos L.
Anastrepha ludens Citrus aurantium L.
Citrus paradisi Macfad.
Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck
Mangifera indica L.
Anastrepha obliqua Mangifera indica L.
Spondias sp. L.
Spondias mombin L.
Spondias purpurea L.
Spondias radkolferi Donn. Sm.
Tapirira mexicana Marchand
Anastrepha serpentina Bumelia sebolana Lundell
Calocarpum mammosum (L.) Pierre
Chrysophyllum cainito L.
Mangifera indica L.
Manilkara zapota (L.) P. Royen
Pouteria sp. Aubl.
Anastrepha spatulata Schoepfia schreberi J.F. Gmel.
Anastrepha striata Psidium guajava L.
Anastrepha suspensa Eugenia uniflora L.
Prunus persica L.
Psidium guajava L.
Syzygium jambos L.
Terminalia catappa L.
Rhagoletis spp. Crataegus mexicana DC.
Crataegus rosei rosei Eggl.

 

Economic Importance (Back to Top)

Doryctobracon areolatus parasitism rate is highly dependent on fruit size (the larger the fruit the more difficult it is to reach hosts). In its native habitats, parasitism of fruit flies in certain fruit can reach >80%. Mean parasitism of Caribbean fruit fly following original establishment in Florida was ~40% and, while it is too early to tell for releases in the Dominican Republic, (Serra et al. 2011) parasitism is already similar to that exerted by the native parasitoid Utetes anastrephae.

Selected References (Back to Top)