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The gregarious parasitoid Cotesia flavipes displays a high level of preadaptation to a novel host, Diatraea indigenella

  • C. Londoño-Sánchez
  • J. Montoya-Lerma
  • J. P. Michaud
  • G. VargasEmail author


Cotesia flavipes Cameron (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is often augmented against Diatraea spp. (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) stem borers in the Americas. Diatraea indigenella Dyar and Heinrich, an endemic pest of sugarcane in southern Colombia, represents a novel host for C. flavipes. We examined the development of C. flavipes on D. indigenella and D. saccharalis, a familiar host, when larvae were stung by one, two or three wasps. Host species had no effect on parasitism success, immature parasitoid mortality, parasitoid developmental time, adult emergence, or female size. Superparasitized D. indigenella hosts yielded more cocoons, more adults, and more female wasps than those parasitized with a single sting, or from D. saccharalis hosts. However, wasp survival and longevity declined when host larvae were stung three times. Thus, D. indigenella was a more suitable host for C. flavipes when superparasitized, and appears suitable for augmentation against this emergent pest and other Diatraea species attacking sugarcane.


Braconidae Crambidae Diatraea saccharalis Morphometry Superparasitism Sugarcane 



The authors are grateful to the personnel of the Entomology laboratory at Cenicaña for technical support and for supplying Diatraea larvae, to Laboratorios Biocol S.A.S for supplying the parasitoids, to the Bioagro laboratory for logistical support, and to Héctor Alberto Chica for assistance with statistical analysis. We also thank Fred Hollingworth for editorial contributions and to anonymous reviewers who help improved this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare there are no conflict of interest (financial or non-financial) that research funds were provided by the Colombian Sugarcane Research Center, a private non for-profit institution. Any mention of trade names, commercial products and/or private companies in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the Colombian Sugarcane Research Center or the Universidad del Valle.

Ethical approval

The authors declare this is an original research that was carry out under professional conduct and no simultaneous attempts of submission were carried out.


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Copyright information

© International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Londoño-Sánchez
    • 1
  • J. Montoya-Lerma
    • 1
  • J. P. Michaud
    • 2
  • G. Vargas
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversidad del ValleCaliColombia
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyKansas State University, Agricultural Research Center-HaysHaysUSA
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación de la Caña de Azúcar de Colombia (Cenicaña)CaliColombia

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