A hidden beneficial: biology of the tick-wasp Ixodiphagus hookeri in Germany
Article first published online: 20 JUL 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Verlag, GmbH
Journal of Applied Entomology
Volume 135, Issue 5, pages 351–358, June 2011
How to Cite
Collatz, J., Selzer, P., Fuhrmann, A., Oehme, R. M., Mackenstedt, U., Kahl, O. and Steidle, J. L. M. (2011), A hidden beneficial: biology of the tick-wasp Ixodiphagus hookeri in Germany. Journal of Applied Entomology, 135: 351–358. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0418.2010.01560.x
- Issue published online: 5 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 20 JUL 2010
- Received: February 1, 2010; accepted: May 23, 2010.
- Hunterellus hookeri;
- Ixodes ricinus;
- biological control;
- host acceptance;
- host preference;
The parasitic wasp Ixodiphagus hookeri parasitizes hard ticks and is therefore considered as a potential candidate for biological control of ticks. However, there are still considerable gaps of knowledge about the biology of I. hookeri, especially for European populations. Thus, the present study was performed to assess important life-history parameters of the parasitoid in Germany. Field studies accomplished in three successive years revealed that unfed Ixodes ricinus nymphs are infested by the parasitoid at a low but constant rate of 1.9–3.8% and that adult wasps are present only during a short period in late summer. The mean developmental time of wasps in I. ricinus nymphs ranged from 28 to 70 days under constant laboratory conditions and was prolonged in the second half of the year. Bioassays on parasitization and host preference behaviour showed that unfed nymphs of the host species I. ricinus are significantly preferred in experiments, in which unfed and engorged larvae as well as fully engorged nymphs were offered as alternatives. The marsh tick Dermacentor reticulatus was not accepted as an alternative host. Our data show that the investigated I. hookeri populations differ markedly from populations in other regions of the world in many aspects. The adaptation of different strains to local conditions explains the limited success of imported strains in earlier biological control attempts and highlights the importance of doing research to enhance the control potential of native strains.