The immature development and morphological characteristics of Opius caricivorae Fischer (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), an endoparasitoid of dipteran leafminers, were studied under laboratory conditions at 25°C constant temperature on the host Liriomyza sativae Blanchard (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Most of the parasitoid females prefer to oviposit into the third instars of the host. They always laid a single egg per ovipositor insertion and superparasitized the same host in a few occasions when hosts were limited. Parasitoid eggs are of the hymenopteriform type. During the embryonic development (49 h) the eggs increased in size more than two-fold. Five instars occurred in this species. The first instar is of the caudate-mandibulate type bearing falcate appendages, whereas the second to fifth instars are hymenopteriform with simple mandibles, and they are similar to each other. The first instar remains inside its chorion after hatching until it molts into a second instar. A new structure, namely, transverse sclerite, in the cephalic structure of the fifth instar was found located between the maxillary palpi. Under laboratory conditions, the duration of the total immature stages lasted ≈327 h. The immature stages are described and illustrated using light microscopy, and they are compared with those of other apocritan parasitoids.
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Vol. 100 • No. 3