• Biosystematic studies onAphytis in India—A promising area of research

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    • Keywords


      Aphytis ; diaspine scale insects; sibling species

    • Abstract


      Species of the genusAphytis Howard (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea, Aphelinidae) develop as primary ectoparasites of armoured scale insects (Homoptera, Coccoidea and Diaspididae) and are the most important natural enemies of this group of pests. Several species have been successfully employed in the biological control of important armoured scale insect pests in different parts of the world. In spite of the importance ofAphytis, very little is known about the species occurring in India, a promising area for additional and important species. In the past although taxonomists have made significant contributions to our knowledge of Indian Chalcidoidea, the genusAphytis has largely been neglected because the identification of the species in this group is extremely difficult for want of readily recognizable morphological criteria and due to the common occurrence of sibling and uniparental species. The recognition of sibling species and different biological races is often important in biological control. Hence there is a need in India to initiate studies onAphytis to establish the identity of cryptic species and to recognize biological races and other infra-specific entities exhibiting morphological and biological differences, with special attention to those parasitic on armoured scale insects on economically important plants. These studies would pave the way for biological control strategies for pest species in India and elsewhere and also for those which may eventually attain pest status due to changing ecosystems.

    • Author Affiliations


      A Uma Narasimham1 M J Chacko1

      1. CAB International Institute of Biological Control, Hebbal Agricultural Farm Post, Bangalore - 560 024, India
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