The aphelinid parasitoid Eretmocerus hayati Zolnerowich & Rose (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) was recently released in Australia as a biocontrol agent against the crop pest Bemisia tabaci Gennadius (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). It was found that the parasitoid can spread over several kilometers in asingle generation and continue laying eggs for over afortnight. A simple wind-advection model was fitted to emergence data from a first release between Fassifern and Kalbar, Queensland, and its predictive ability was tested against the second release near Carnarvon, Western Australia. The fitting of the model was used to develop several hypotheses about the dispersal of E. hayati, which were validated by the second release: E. hayati flies in the same direction as the wind to a distance proportional to the wind speed; this wind-borne flight takes place at any time during daylight hours; a flight is attempted every day after emergence unless there are high wind conditions during that day; and the high wind condition that will delay flight is wind speeds in excess of ≈2 m/s. This model of E. hayati dispersal may be contrasted with previous models fitted for Eretmocerus species, for which dispersal was dominated by diffusion processes, and parasitoid spread was constrained to the scales of tens and hundreds of meters.
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Vol. 42 • No. 6