Changes in longevity, parasitization rate and development time of the whitefly parasitoid Encarsia formosa under future climate conditions


Milenovic M., Ripamonti M., Eickermann M., Rapisarda C., Junk J.


Biological Control, vol. 186, art. no. 105354, 2023


Biological control by augmentative release of parasitoids is an established practice for controlling an economically very important insect pest group, whiteflies (Aleyrodidae), in protected cropping systems worldwide. One of the two most used parasitoids is Encarsia formosa. Anthropogenic climate change will modify multitrophic interactions between organisms, and sensitive biocontrol systems are not an exception. At the same time, there is a knowledge gap in our understanding of the performance of E. formosa as a biocontrol agent in mid-future climate. In the present study, we evaluate the parasitization rate, development time, and longevity of this important biocontrol agent by performing climatic chamber simulation driven by physically consistent, regionally downscaled, numerical future climate projections. The parasitoid shows 8.6 days accelerated development, 15-fold higher parasitization rate, and 38% shorter longevity under the tested future climate conditions. Challenges in conclusively assessing life parameters of this parasitoid, and the implications on whitefly biocontrol in the future are discussed.



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