n African Entomology - (Hymenoptera : Aphelinidae), a parasitoid introduced to South Africa from Thailand for the control of mango scale, (Hemiptera : Diaspididae) : short communication




The mango scale (Newstead), which is of Asian origin, is a widespread pest throughout the mango-producing areas of South Africa, where it causes considerable losses to the export industry because of its cosmetic damage to fruit. Through an initiative of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) - Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops (ITSC), several attempts at introducing parasitoids for the biological control of this pest in South Africa were made during 1992-1995 (Labuschagne & De Beer 1995). This entailed a search for parasitoids in Taiwan, Pakistan, India, Singapore and Malaysia that yielded at least four unidentified species of the genus . This is an important group of primary ecto-parasitoids of diaspidid scale insects. None of these species could, however, be reared successfully in quarantine. Subsequently, a consignment of parasitized mango scales imported from Thailand in 1995 yielded yet another unidentified species of . This species was successfully propagated in quarantine, initially at ARC - Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI), Pretoria and later at the facilities of ITSC in Nelspruit (Labuschagne 1996).

The purpose of this study was to determine the identity of the species from Thailand, which was previously referred to in the literature as ' sp.' and which has since become established in South Africa after it was released at various localities in the mango-growing areas of Mpumalanga and the Northern Province during 1996-1997 (Labuschagne 1996; Daneel & Dreyer 1997). The species has subsequently been identified as Ren, which was originally described from China as a parasitoid of the diaspidid (Takahashi) (Ren 1988). A diagnosis and comments on its placement within the group of species are provided here to facilitate the recognition of this poorly known parasitoid, that was hitherto known only from its type material, which has been lost.


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