A 5-mo survey for fruit feeding Lepidoptera attacking Hass and non-Hass avocados (Persea americana Miller [Lauraceae]) was conducted in Guatemala from 1 November 2006 to 1 April 2007. In total, 6,740 fruit were collected from 22 different areas in Guatemala. Eight species of Lepidoptera, of which at least two are species new to science, were reared from avocado fruit. Reared Lepidoptera were Amorbia santamaria Phillips and Powell, Cryptaspasma sp. nr. lugubris, Euxoa sorella Schaus, Histura n. sp., Holcocera n. sp., Micrathetis triplex Walker, Netechma pyrrhodelta (Meyrick), and Stenoma catenifer Walsingham. Hymenopteran parasitoids were reared from larvae of C. sp. nr. lugubris and S. catenifer. One species of parasitoid, Pseudophanerotoma sp., was reared from field collected C. sp. nr. lugubris larvae. The dominant parasitoid reared from S. catenifer was a gregarious Apanteles sp. Other parasitoid species reared from S. catenifer larvae were Brachycyrtus sp., Macrocentrus sp., and Pristomerus sp. The oviposition preference of C. sp. nr. lugubris for avocado fruit hanging in trees, dropped fruit on the ground, or exposed avocado seeds was investigated by studying the oviposition preferences of adult female moths and determining egg hatch times in the laboratory, and by investigating the longevity of avocado fruit on the ground under prevailing field conditions. Together, data from these studies suggested that C. sp. nr. lugubris may be an unrecognized pest of avocados that causes hanging fruit to drop to the ground prematurely. The influence of season and altitude on the phenology and distribution of avocado feeding Lepidoptera in Guatemala is discussed.
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Vol. 101 • No. 4