The Euwallacea fornicatus species complex (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae: Xyleborini) is a group of four cryptic ambrosia beetle species. Native to Asia, several members of the complex have invaded other continents, where they cause significant economic losses to agricultural crops (e.g., avocado) and natural ecosystems. We were primarily interested in developing management strategies by focusing on the flight behavior of the beetles. Thus, seasonal differences in flight activity were assessed using panel traps baited with a commercial quercivorol lure, placed in infested avocado orchards in Danei, Tainan, Taiwan. Same traps were used to investigate the flight activity of a natural enemy, an undescribed species of the Braconid genus Eucosmophorus sp. Shothole borer species were identified using a DNA-based, high resolution melting assay. Trap data were compared to the predictions of a simple degree-day model, incorporating developmental data and several environmental parameters known to influence flight. Such as the time period representing most of flight activity in a day and temperature-dependent flight propensity. In stark contrast to the degree-day model which predicted the highest emergence, and by extension flight, of shothole borers during spring and summer (May to November), flight activity was actually lowest during these months, and instead, peaked during the winter (October to March). Abundance of the parasitoid wasp closely mirrored flight activity of the shothole borers. The mismatch of trapping and modeling data can have many causes, heavy precipitation and possibly cooperative brood care may suppress the dispersal behavior of the shothole borers during the summer.
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1 October 2022
Seasonal Dynamics of Flight Phenology of the Euwallacea fornicatus Species Complex and an Associated Parasitoid Wasp in Avocado Groves in Taiwan