We evaluated the possibility of using the eggs laid out of host to rear Exorista larvarum (L.) (Diptera: Tachinidae), a larval parasitoid of Lepidoptera, on artificial media. In a first experiment, eggs oviposited on a plastic sheet (either by inexperienced or experienced females) showed the same in vitro hatching capability as those removed from the larvae of the factitious host Galleria mellonella L. Subsequently, eggs laid on the host integument or out of host, either by inexperienced or experienced females, were removed from the oviposition substrate and placed on a skimmed milk-based artificial medium. The percentages of hatched eggs, of puparia and adults, as well as the puparial weights did not differ significantly among the three treatments. These findings suggested that E. larvarum may be successfully reared in vitro with a total exclusion of the host insect. In a further test, no difference for the in vitro hatching time was found between the eggs oviposited either on a plastic sheet or on G. mellonella larvae in the same length of time (60 min). This result suggested that at oviposition the out-of-host eggs were unincubated, similarly to those that had been laid on the host larvae.
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Vol. 100 • No. 1