Occurrence of natural enemies of fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Nigeria.
ABSTRACT: Fall armyworm (FAW; Spodoptera frugiperda), an exotic moth which recently invaded Africa, is a highly destructive pest of cereals especially maize a highly valued staple crop in Nigeria. The use of natural enemies such as predators or parasitoids for FAW control is more economically viable and environmentally safer than currently recommended synthetic insecticides. Natural enemies to combat the pest have not yet been reported in Nigeria. An exploration for the pests' natural enemies was undertaken by collecting FAW eggs and larvae from maize fields. These were reared in the laboratory for emergence, identification and efficacy as natural enemies. This yielded Euplectrus laphygmae (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae); Telenomus remus (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae) and Trombidium sp. (Acari.: Trombidiidae). Cotesia or Apanteles spp. were inferred to occur since Stictopisthus sp. (Hym.: Ichneumonidae), a secondary parasitoid, that attacks cocoons of Microgasterinae (e.g. Cotesia, Apanteles etc.) also emerged. Species of yet-to-be identified predators were also observed in various niches of maize plants. A positive relationship was found between FAW instar and the number of E. laphygmae eggs/instar ranging, on average, from 1.5 on second instar to 5.5 on fourth instars hosts. Parasitism rate of T. remus on FAW eggs was 100%. Parasitic mite infestation resulted in increasing paleness, reduced feeding, growth and movement as well as death of FAW 1st instars. Thus, the occurrence of FAW natural enemies in Nigeria calls for advocacy campaign to incorporate their use into integrated pest management strategies that attract and allow natural enemies to thrive for FAW management.
Project description:The present study is the first modeling effort at a global scale to predict habitat suitability of fall armyworm (FAW), <i>Spodoptera frugiperda</i> and its key parasitoids, namely <i>Chelonus insularis</i>, <i>Cotesia marginiventris,</i><i>Eiphosoma laphygmae,</i><i>Telenomus remus</i> and <i>Trichogramma pretiosum</i>, to be considered for biological control. An adjusted procedure of a machine-learning algorithm, the maximum entropy (Maxent), was applied for the modeling experiments. Model predictions showed particularly high establishment potential of the five hymenopteran parasitoids in areas that are heavily affected by FAW (like the coastal belt of West Africa from Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to Nigeria, the Congo basin to Eastern Africa, Eastern, Southern and Southeastern Asia and some portions of Eastern Australia) and those of potential invasion risks (western & southern Europe). These habitats can be priority sites for scaling FAW biocontrol efforts. In the context of global warming and the event of accidental FAW introduction, warmer parts of Europe are at high risk. The effect of winter on the survival and life cycle of the pest in Europe and other temperate regions of the world are discussed in this paper. Overall, the models provide pioneering information to guide decision making for biological-based medium and long-term management of FAW across the globe.
Project description:The koinobiont solitary larval endoparasitoid <i>Dolichogenidea gelechiidivoris</i> (Marsh) (Syn.: <i>Apanteles gelechiidivoris</i>) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and the predatory bug <i>Nesidiocoris tenuis</i> (Reuter) (Hemiptera: Miridae) are important natural enemies of <i>Tuta absoluta</i> (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), a serious pest of tomato. Although <i>N. tenuis</i> preferentially feeds on <i>T.</i><i>absoluta</i> eggs, it is also recorded as a predator of first and second instar larval stages. <i>Dolichogenidea gelechiidivoris</i> preferentially seeks these early larval stages of <i>T. absoluta</i> for oviposition. The occurrence of intraguild predation between <i>N. tenuis</i> and <i>D. gelechiidivoris</i> and the consequences on the oviposition performance of <i>D. gelechiidivoris</i> were investigated in the laboratory. Regardless of the manner of introduction (i.e., the sequence of combinations with <i>D. gelechiidivoris</i>) or density (i.e., number of <i>N. tenuis</i> combined with <i>D. gelechiidivoris</i>), the presence of <i>N. tenuis</i> did not affect the oviposition performance of <i>D. gelechiidivoris</i> or the parasitoid's progeny. Combination assays revealed that the efficacy of the combined use of <i>N. tenuis</i> and <i>D. gelechiidivoris</i> in controlling <i>T. absoluta</i> populations was significantly higher than that of either natural enemy alone. Our results highlight the potential of combining mirid predators and koinobiont larval endoparasitoids to control <i>T. absoluta</i>. The findings further contribute to data supporting the release of <i>D. gelechiidivoris</i> in tomato agroecosystems for the control of <i>T. absoluta</i> in Africa, where <i>N. tenuis</i> is widespread and abundant.
Project description:The fall armyworm (FAW) <i>Spodoptera frugiperda</i> (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) has successfully invaded Africa, where it has significantly impacted maize and sorghum production. Management of FAW in Africa predominantly relies on synthetic insecticides, which are expensive, and negatively impact the environment and beneficial insects. We, therefore, conducted field surveys in Uganda in 2017 and 2019 to identify egg and larval parasitoids of FAW for possible use in integrated pest management (IPM) programs. Parasitoids were identified by their mitochondrial DNA cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (mtCOI) gene sequences. We identified 13 parasitoid species belonging to three families of Hymenoptera: Platygastridae, Braconidae and Ichneumonidae, as well as one Dipteran family (Tachinidae). <i>Coccygidium</i> spp. and <i>Chelonus bifoveolatus</i> were the most abundant and widely distributed parasitoids. Overall, parasitism averaged 9.2% and ranged from 3.1% to 50% in 2017, and 0.8% to 33% in 2019. Parasitism by <i>Sturmiopsis parasitica</i>, <i>Diolcogaster</i> sp., and <i>Cotesia flavipes</i> on FAW in maize crops are reported for the first time. Our results suggest high biological diversity of FAW parasitoids, which should be exploited in the IPM of the FAW in Uganda.
Project description:The fall armyworm [FAW, Spodoptera frugiperda (J E Smith)], a moth native to America, has spread throughout the world since it was first discovered in Africa in 2016. The FAW is a polyphagous migratory pest that can travel over long distances using seasonal winds or typhoons because of its excellent flying ability, causing serious damage to many crops. For effective FAW control, accurate species identification is essential at the beginning of the invasion. In this study, the FAW-specific gene Sf00067 was discovered by performing bioinformatics to develop a fast and accurate tool for the species-specific diagnosis of this pest. An Sf00067 loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay was developed, and optimal conditions were established. The Sf00067 6 primer LAMP (Sf6p-LAMP) assay established in this study was able to diagnose various genotype-based strains of FAW captured in Korea and FAWs collected from Benin, Africa. Our FAW diagnostic protocol can be completed within 30 min, from the process of extracting genomic DNA from an egg or a 1st instar larva to species determination.
Project description:The fall armyworm (FAW) Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) is a species native to the Americas. This polyphagous lepidopteran pest was first reported in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Principe in 2016, but its presence in eastern Africa has not been confirmed via molecular characterisation. In this study, FAW specimens from western and central Uganda were identified based on the partial mtDNA COI gene sequences, with mtDNA COI haplotypes matching those identified in Nigeria and São Tomé. In this study, we sequence an additional partial mtDNA Cyt b gene and also the partial mtDNA COIII gene in Ugandan FAW samples. We detected identical mitochondrial DNA haplotypes for both the mtDNA Cyt b and COI partial genes, while combining the mtDNA COI/Cyt b haplotypes and mtDNA COIII haplotypes enabled a new maternal lineage in the Ugandan corn-preferred FAW samples to be identified. Our results suggested that the African incursions of S. frugiperda involved at least three maternal lineages. Recent full genome, phylogenetic and microsatellite analyses provided evidence to support S. frugiperda as likely consisted of two sympatric sister species known as the corn-preferred and rice-preferred strains. In our Ugandan FAW populations, we identified the presence of mtDNA haplotypes representative of both sister species. It is not known if both FAW sister species were originally introduced together or separately, and whether they have since spread as a single population. Further analyses of additional specimens originally collected from São Tomé, Nigeria and throughout Africa would be required to clarify this issue. Importantly, our finding showed that the genetic diversity of the African corn-preferred FAW species is higher than previously reported. This potentially contributed to the success of FAW establishment in Africa. Furthermore, with the additional maternal lineages detected, there is likely an increase in paternal lineages, thereby increasing the diversity of the African FAW population. Knowledge of the FAW genetic diversity will be needed to assess the risks of introducing Bt-resistance traits and to understand the FAW incursion pathways into the Old World and its potential onward spread. The agricultural implications of the presence of two evolutionary divergent FAW lineages (the corn and the rice lineage) in the African continent are further considered and discussed.
Project description:The egg parasitoid Telenomus remus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) has been investigated for classical and applied biological control of noctuid pests, especially Spodoptera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) species. Although T. remus was introduced into Brazil over three decades ago for classical biological control of S. frugiperda, this wasp has not been recorded as established in corn or soybean crops. We used an integrative approach to identify T. remus, combining a taxonomic key based on the male genitalia with DNA barcoding, using a cytochrome c oxidase subunit I mitochondrial gene fragment. This is the first report of natural parasitism of T. remus on S. frugiperda and S. cosmioides eggs at two locations in Brazil. We also confirmed that the T. remus lineage in Brazil derives from a strain in Venezuela (originally from Papua New Guinea and introduced into the Americas, Africa, and Asia). The occurrence of T. remus parasitizing S. frugiperda and S. cosmioides eggs in field conditions, not associated with inundative releases, suggests that the species has managed to establish itself in the field in Brazil. This opens possibilities for future biological control programs, since T. remus shows good potential for mass rearing and egg parasitism of important agricultural pests such as Spodoptera species.
Project description:Herbivore populations are regulated by bottom-up control through food availability and quality and by top-down control through natural enemies. Intensive agricultural monocultures provide abundant food to specialized herbivores and at the same time negatively impact natural enemies because monocultures are depauperate in carbohydrate food sources required by many natural enemies. As a consequence, herbivores are released from both types of control. Diversifying intensive cropping systems with flowering plants that provide nutritional resources to natural enemies may enhance top-down control and contribute to natural herbivore regulation. We analyzed how noncrop flowering plants planted as "companion plants" inside cabbage (Brassica oleracea) fields and as margins along the fields affect the plant-herbivore-parasitoid-predator food web. We combined molecular analyses quantifying parasitism of herbivore eggs and larvae with molecular predator gut content analysis and a comprehensive predator community assessment. Planting cornflowers (Centaurea cynanus), which have been shown to attract and selectively benefit Microplitis mediator, a larval parasitoid of the cabbage moth Mamestra brassicae, between the cabbage heads shifted the balance between trophic levels. Companion plants significantly increased parasitism of herbivores by larval parasitoids and predation on herbivore eggs. They furthermore significantly affected predator species richness. These effects were present despite the different treatments being close relative to the parasitoids' mobility. These findings demonstrate that habitat manipulation can restore top-down herbivore control in intensive crops if the right resources are added. This is important because increased natural control reduces the need for pesticide input in intensive agricultural settings, with cascading positive effects on general biodiversity and the environment. Companion plants thus increase biodiversity both directly, by introducing new habitats and resources for other species, and indirectly by reducing mortality of nontarget species due to pesticides. This study provides a comprehensive assessment of how habitat manipulation affects biocontrol services of a natural enemy community including both parasitoids and generalist predators. The trophic interactions between pests, parasitoids and predators were determined to achieve a better systemic understanding of top-down herbivore control, which can be strengthened when natural enemies complement each other or dampened by intraguild interactions. Our approach to selectively enhance the third trophic level to counteract specific herbivores was successful for both predators and parasitoids. Our results show significant positive effects of companion plants on predation of pest eggs and parasitism of pest larvae. Importantly, our data also suggest that carabids, staphylinids and spiders do not substantially interfere with parasitoid biocontrol as parasitoid DNA was rarely detected in predator guts.
Project description:The invasion and wide spread of Spodoptera frugiperda represent real impediments to food security and the livelihood of the millions of maize and sorghum farming communities in the sub-Saharan and Sahel regions of Africa. Current management efforts for the pest are focused on the use of synthetic pesticides, which are often economically unviable and are extremely hazardous to the environment. The use of biological control offers a more economically and environmentally safer alternative. In this study, the performance of the recently described parasitoid, Cotesia icipe, against the pest was elucidated. We assessed the host stage acceptability by and suitability for C. icipe, as well as its ovigenic status. Furthermore, the habitat suitability for the parasitoid in the present and future climatic conditions was established using Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) algorithm and the Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP). Cotesia icipe differentially accepted the immature stages of the pest. The female acceptance of 1st and 2nd instar larvae for oviposition was significantly higher with more than 60% parasitism. No oviposition on the egg, 5th and 6th larval instars, and pupal stages was observed. Percentage of cocoons formed, and the number of emerged wasps also varied among the larval stages. At initial parasitism, parasitoid progenies, time to cocoon formation and overall developmental time were significantly affected by the larval stage. Egg-load varied significantly with wasp age, with six-day-old wasps having the highest number of mature eggs. Ovigeny index of C. icipe was 0.53. Based on the models, there is collinearity in the ecological niche of the parasitoid and the pest under current and future climate scenarios. Eastern, Central and parts of coastal areas of western Africa are highly suitable for the establishment of the parasitoid. The geographic distribution of the parasitoid would remain similar under future climatic conditions. In light of the findings of this study, we discuss the prospects for augmentative and classical biological control of S. frugiperda with C. icipe in Africa.
Project description:Biological control is one of the best options for the sustainable management of the invasive maize pest Spodoptera frugiperda in Africa. However, there is limited knowledge of the efficacy of native natural enemies of S. frugiperda and their potential use in integrated pest management. The endoparasitoid wasp Coccygidium luteum is one of the natural enemies of S. frugiperda in Africa. This study assessed, under laboratory conditions, the effect of C. luteum on the leaf consumption rate of its host. Fifty first instar S. frugiperda larvae were exposed to C. luteum for oviposition and the maize leaf consumption rate of parasitized larvae was assessed and compared to 50 unparasitized larvae from the same cohort. Coccygidium luteum completed a generation, from egg to adult emergence, in 16.7 days. The leaf consumption rate of parasitized S. frugiperda larvae declined gradually compared to unparasitized larvae and the overall consumption reduction by parasitized S. frugiperda larvae was 89%. Our findings show that C. luteum could reduce damage caused by S. frugiperda to maize farms but, prior to its use in biological control programmes, further studies are needed to assess potential parasitism rates in field conditions and develop a cost-effective mass production system.