Host acceptance, suitability, and effects of host deprivation on the West African egg parasitoid Telenomus isis (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) reared on East African stemborers under varying temperature and relative humidity regimens.
Scelionid egg parasitoids of Telenomus spp. have been shown to significantly affect noctuid stemborer populations and yields of maize in western Africa. One of them, T. isis, has never been reported from eastern Africa and was introduced into the laboratories of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya. This study evaluates the biotic potential of T. isis using East African stemborers as hosts. Host acceptance was tested using 15 lepidopteran borer species. Only noctuid stemborers were accepted for oviposition by T. isis. Sesamia calamistis Hampson, Sesamia nonagrioides (Lefebvre), and Busseola fusca (Fuller) were further used to study the effect of host species, host age, duration of host deprivation, temperature, and humidity on the performance of the parasitoid. In contrast to sex ratio, developmental time, parasitism, and parasitoid emergence varied significantly with host species, and the former two decreased with the age of host eggs. Female longevity increased with duration of host deprivation, whereas average lifetime fecundity decreased, probably because of oocyte resorption. T. isis successfully developed between 18 and 32 degrees C at both low (40-50%) and high (70-80%) relative humidity regimens, but temperature played a more critical role. Using the modified Logan model, the lower and upper temperature thresholds for development were estimated at 11.5 and 37.5 degrees C, respectively, with an optimum at 30.5 degrees C for both humidity regimens. Depending on temperature and relative humidity regimen, the intrinsic rate of increase (r(m)) varied from 0.077 to 0.300, net reproductive rate (R(o)) from 7.70 to 83.96, and generation time (G) from 11 to 38 d. The results of this study indicate that T. isis is likely to establish in eastern Africa.
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