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Interactions between Spathius agrili (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and Tetrastichus planipennisi (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), larval parasitoids of Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae)

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Ulyshen, Michael D.; Duan, Jian J.; Bauer, Leah S.

Year Published



Biological Control. 52: 188-193.


Three hymenopteran parasitoids native to China are being released in the United States as biological control agents for the emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, an Asian buprestid species responsible for mortality of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in North America. Two of these hymenopterans, Spathius agrili Yang (Braconidae), a larval ectoparasitoid, and Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang (Eulophidae), a larval endoparasitoid, prefer late-instar EAB larvae. This overlapping host preference raises concerns that interspecific competition following field releases may compromise establishment of one or both species. In a series of laboratory and field experiments, we found S. agrili and T. planipennisi exhibited similar parasitism rates when presented alone with EAB larvae for 12-14 days. However, S. agrili was more efficient at locating and parasitizing hosts within the first 27 h, possibly explaining why S. agrili excluded T. planipennisi in the laboratory trials and nearly excluded T. planipennisi in field trials when the two species were presented together with EAB larvae. We found that S. agrili parasitized larvae previously parasitized by T. planipennisi but not the reverse. However, S. agrili offspring failed to complete development on hosts that were previously parasitized by T. planipennisi. We recommend releasing these species separately in time or space to avoid the antagonistic interactions observed in this study.


competitive exclusion; invasive; exotic; multiparasitism; multiple-species introductions


Ulyshen, Michael D.; Duan, Jian J.; Bauer, Leah S. 2010. Interactions between Spathius agrili (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), larval parasitoids of Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Biological Control 52: 188-193.

Last updated on: December 7, 2010