A preliminary note on the bionomics and economic importance ofMicrobracon hebetor say, aBraconid new to North India
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M. hebetov Say is recorded for the first time from North India and notes are given of its behaviour and hosts in Ceylon.
In India its usual host has not been discovered, it was discovered in a room where lac was stored, and was bred in the Laboratory as an ecto-parasite ofEublemma amabilis andHolcocera pulverea, both serious enemies of the lac cultivator.M. hebetor is believed to be rare in North India.
A preliminary detailed description of its bionomics, breeding and life-history is given: the hosts used wereE. amabilis, H. pulverea andE. scitula, the latter although occasionally a lac predator is a beneficial rather than harmful insect on account of its larval habit of feeding on injuriousCoccids. M. hebetor was induced to oviposit onPlatyedra gossypiella larvæ under laboratory conditions at Namkum.
The hosts of theBraconid in other parts of the world are all pests of varying importance, largely of stored products. Many of these pests occur in India.
The percentages of escapes, failures to oviposit and mortality among the life-history stages are rather high; these, it is considered, will be reduced with improved breeding technique and with acclimatisation toE. amabilis andH. pulverea as hosts. TheBraconid is considered to be a potentially ideal parasite for acclimatisation and introduction in lac-growing areas.
As no further specimens have been collected or obtained here, arrangements were made to obtain a consignment from Ceylon for further investigation; the consignment arrived safely giving a percentage of only 28·9% adults.
KeywordsHost Larva Ovipositor Sheath Oviposition Cage Unfertilised Female Habrobracon Hebetor
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