Earlier study at a national scale has shown that insect pests in agriculture can develop resistance to natural enemies following ongoing expansion and simplification of agricultural systems. Here, we used 25 years of field-sampling data segmented into three distinct ecoregions in New Zealand to show that parasitism rate of a key pasture pest (Listronotus bonariensis, Argentine stem weevil) by the introduced parasitoid Microctonus hyperodae has significantly declined. However, this decline has not happened simultaneously in all three ecoregions but with a one year time-lag. The variation in parasitism rate trends might be attributed to subsets of the weevil populations that became resistant to their biocontrol agent once having been exposed to seven years selection pressure (ca. 14 generations) since the parasitoid releases. This result supports the hypothesis that adaptation leading to resistance might have similarly occurred in different parts of the country indicating that the genetic variation needed for the acquisition of resistance was equally present everywhere.

Breakdown in classical biological control of Argentine stem weevil. A matter of time / Tomasetto, Federico; Cianciullo, Silvio; Reale, Marco; Attorre, Fabio; Olaniyan, Oluwashola; Goldson, Stephen L.. - In: BIOCONTROL. - ISSN 1386-6141. - 63:4(2018), pp. 521-531. [10.1007/s10526-018-9878-4]

Breakdown in classical biological control of Argentine stem weevil. A matter of time

Cianciullo, Silvio;Attorre, Fabio;
2018

Abstract

Earlier study at a national scale has shown that insect pests in agriculture can develop resistance to natural enemies following ongoing expansion and simplification of agricultural systems. Here, we used 25 years of field-sampling data segmented into three distinct ecoregions in New Zealand to show that parasitism rate of a key pasture pest (Listronotus bonariensis, Argentine stem weevil) by the introduced parasitoid Microctonus hyperodae has significantly declined. However, this decline has not happened simultaneously in all three ecoregions but with a one year time-lag. The variation in parasitism rate trends might be attributed to subsets of the weevil populations that became resistant to their biocontrol agent once having been exposed to seven years selection pressure (ca. 14 generations) since the parasitoid releases. This result supports the hypothesis that adaptation leading to resistance might have similarly occurred in different parts of the country indicating that the genetic variation needed for the acquisition of resistance was equally present everywhere.
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