The tropical grasshopper (Usherhopper), Poekilocerus bufonius (Orthoptera: Pyrgomorphidae) is found on several host plants such as Calotropis procera, Aizoon canarense, Zygophyllum simplex and Pulicaria crispa in Saudi Arabia (KSA). Many species of Sarcophagidae and Tachinidae parasitize P. bufonius. Here we present the first published record of Blaesoxipha rufipes parasitizing P. bufonius and the first record of its occurrence in Saudi Arabia. We collected 568 adults of the host from five regions in the Middle West of KSA. These were dissected in order to study the parasitoid distribution, parasitism ratio and sex ratio. The parasitoid occurred in all regions investigated but its incidence gradually decreased from East to West. We found that hopper females were significantly more infested (=32.3%) than males (=18.3%). Also, the number of maggots per infested host ranged from 2 to 11 and averaged 6.7 with a significant difference in the mean number of parasitoids for each infested adult male (=3.8) vs. adult female (=7.7). Parasitoid sex ratio overall was 40.1%:59.1% males to females. Occurrence of this parasitoid in KSA suggests further study to investigate its potential as a biological control agent for more damaging Orthoptera.
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Vol. 124 • No. 1