Reproductive characteristics of invasive hyperparasitoid Baeoanusia albifunicle have implications for the biological control of eucalypt pest Paropsis charybdis
Hyperparasitoids can impede the establishment of primary parasitoid biological control agents or limit their control capacity. Although modern quarantine practices generally prevent hyperparasitoids being introduced with biological control agents, introductions can occur via natural pathways or accidentally with incoming passengers and cargo. In New Zealand, Baeoanusia albifunicle Girault is a self-introduced hyperparasitoid of Enoggera nassaui Girault, an intentionally introduced control agent of the eucalypt pest Paropsis charybdis Stål. A self-introduced primary parasitoid, Neopolycystus insectifurax (Girault), also parasitises P. charybdis in New Zealand. We assessed B. albifunicle biology to better understand its potential to disrupt P. charybdis control. It was determined that B. albifunicle is an obligate solitary hyperparasitoid with a longer lifespan, lower fecundity and longer generation time than its host. The hyperparasitoid reduced effective parasitism by E. nassaui to <10% in the lab, indicating it may limit control of the first P. charybdis generation by slowing spring population growth. It was confirmed that N. insectifurax is not hyperparasitised by B. albifunicle and therefore has some potential to substitute for any hyperparasitoid-driven decline in E. nassaui.