Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Diabrotica virgifera - Structure and function of the natural enemy community present in the European area of introduction

It can be concluded after a three year survey study, that all developmental stages of D. virgifera, i.e. its host niches, are not attacked by effective natural enemies in Central Europe. Except the fungi species Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae attacking D. virgifera beetles on an extremely low level, no other entomopathogenic fungi, entomopathogenic nematodes, and parasitoids were found, neither on eggs, nor on larvae, pupae or adults. Both fungi are also known as common on Diabrotica species in North and South America, however, their potential for reducing corn rootworm feeding damage has not been proven in the field and very little is known about their natural impact on the populations of D. virgifera.

It appears that the native natural enemy community in Europe has not adapted to the invasive alien chrysomelid. In contrast, several nematodes, fungi, predators and some parasitoids are known to attack D. virgifera in South and North America. This is a typical and not unexpected situation for an invasive species and stresses the potential to implement classical biological control strategies using specific natural enemies from the area of origin.

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