Dispersal of the exotic parasitoid Cotesia flavipes in a new ecosystem
Kairu, E. W.
Sallam, M. N.
Overholt, W. A.
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A study on the dispersal of the exotic larval endoparasitoid, Cotesia flavipes Cameron (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), was conducted in a maize field in the northern Kilifi District in the coastal area of Kenya. Because C. flavipes did not previously occur in the release area, it was possible to use a unique indirect method to estimate dispersal by examining the distribution of parasitised hosts. Parasitoids released in the centre of the field moved as far as 64 meters during their life span, and dispersal was dependent on wind direction. The level of parasitism was influenced by the location of hosts in plants. The majority of parasitised stemborers (88.4%) were found inside the plant (stems and tassel stems), where 74.3% of the suitable hosts were found, which indicates that female parasitoids were not searching randomly for hosts. Aggregation of parasitoids in response to plants with different host densities was not detected. Implications of the release of C. flavipes on stemborers population in the agroecosystem of East Africa are discussed.