Parasitoids of the African wild silkmoth, Gonometa postica (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae) in the Mwingi forests, Kenya
Mueke, J. M.
Fening, K. O.
Raina, S. K.
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Gonometa postica Walker produces silk of high quality, but it is affected by parasitoids attack. A study on the parasitism of G. postica larvae and pupae on host and non-host plants were undertaken for the first and second generations, corresponding to the long (March–May) and short (October–December) rainy seasons in 2006 at six field sites, three each in the Imba and Mumoni forests of Mwingi, eastern Kenya. All freshly spun cocoons of G. postica were sampled at each site from a total of 100 trees of host plants and other non-host plants where they have migrated before pupation. The cocoons were kept individually in fine net-sealed plastic vials to determine percentage parasitism. Two dipterans and four hymenopteran larval–pupal parasitoids were identified from the two forests. The most common parasitoids were Palexorista sp. (Diptera: Tachinidae) and Goryphus sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) with parasitism ranging from 1.8 to 32.7% and 2.2 to 7.5%, respectively. Parasitism varied significantly according to host or non-host plants, seasons and sites. This study indicates that, of the six parasitoid species recovered, only two had a significant impact in reducing the quality of the cocoons.