In laboratory assays, we evaluated the potential impact of host plant substrate types, host-parasitoid group sizes (densities), and parasitoid-to-host ratios on select fitness parameters of the larval endoparasitoid Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), newly introduced for biological control of emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), in the United States. Results from our study showed that offspring production and critical fitness parameters (body size and sex ratio) of T. planipennisi from parasitized emerald ash borer larvae are significantly influenced by host plant substrate type, host-parasitoid group size, parasitoid-to-host ratio, or a combination in the primary exposure assay. The number of both female and male T. planipennisi progeny was significantly greater when emerald ash borer larvae were inserted into tropical ash [Fraxinus uhdei (Wenz.) Lingelsh.] logs rather than green ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica Marshall). When maintained at a constant 1:1 parasitoid-to-host ratio, assays with larger host-parasitoid group sizes (3:3–12:12) produced significantly greater numbers of both male and female offspring per parental wasp compared with those with the single host-parasitoid (1:1) group treatment. As the parasitoid-to-host ratio increased from 1:1 to 8:1 in the assay, the average brood size (number of offspring per parasitized emerald ash borer larva) increased significantly, whereas the average brood sex ratio (female to male) changed from being female-biased (6:1) to male-biased (1:2); body size of female offspring as measured by the length of ovipositor and left hind tibia also was reduced significantly. Based on these findings, we suggest that the current method of rearing T. planipennisi with artificially infested-emerald ash borer larvae use the tropical ash logs for emerald ash borer insertion, a larger (≥3:3) host-parasitoid group size and 1:1 parasitoid-to-host ratio in the primary parasitoid exposure assays.
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Vol. 105 • No. 3