Anagyrus pseudococci (Girault)
Geographical distribution: China, Pakistan, the Middle East, the Mediterranean region and Saudi Arabia, and due to Introductions, also South America, South Africa, and the United States. The populations in the Mediterranean region may include a similar but different species.
Morphology: The body of the female is 1.5-2.0 mm long, dull orange to brownish, with a yellow head and antennae with alternate black and white segments. The male is 0.70-1.25 mm long, mostly black. The young larvae are almost transparent to pale-white and have light brown, sclerotized mouthparts; elder larvae are white.
Hosts: Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae).
Life history: Anagyrus pseudococci is an endoparasitoid that places its eggs (about 45/female; 3-6/host) between the wax filaments on the host’s body. The calculated threshold for development is at 12°C, about 225 day degrees are required for one generation, which lasts about 2-3 weeks and the adults, that feed on nectar, may live for several weeks.
Economic importance: Anagyrus pseudococci is economically important as a biological control agent of several pest mealybugs. It is an efficient, controlling enemy of the citrus mealybug (Planococcus citri), the grape mealybug, the vine mealybug (Planococcus ficus) and the cypress mealybug (Planococcus vovae).
Two factors reduce the efficacy of A. pseudococci in the field. First, encapsulation by some of the mealybug hosts; ca 40% of the parasitoid’s eggs placed in Planococcus citri in a citrus grove might be lost due to encapsulation. Second, the activities of A. pseudococci can be disturbed by ants that “milk” the pests for their excreted honeydew.
Anagyrus pseudococci is currently being sold by several producers of natural enemies, for use against mealybugs in fruit tree orchards, vineyards, and protected cultivation.
Avidov, Z., Rössler, Y. and Rosen, D. 1967. Studies on an Israel strain of Anagyrus pseudococci (Girault) [Hym., Encyrtidae]. II. Some biological aspects. Entomophaga 12: 111-118.
Blumberg, D., Klein, M. and Mendel, Z. 1995. Response by encapsulation of four mealybug species (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae) to parasitization by Anagyrus pseudococci. Phytoparasitica 23: 157-163.
Daane, K.M., Malakar-Kuenen, R.D. and Walton, V.M. 2004. Temperature-dependent development of Anagyrus pseudococci (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) as a parasitoid of the vine mealybug, Planococcus ficus (Homoptera:Pseudococcidae). Biological Control 31: 123-132.
Güleç G, Kilinçer AN, Kaydan MB. 2007. Some biological interactions between the parasitoids Anagyrus pseudococci (Girault) (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) and its host Planococcus ficus (Signoret) Hemiptera: Coocidea: Pseudococcidae). Journal of Pest Science 80: 43-49.
Triapitsyn, S.V., González, D., Vickerman, D.B., Noyes, J.S. and White, E.B. 2007. Morphological, biological, and molecular comparisons among the different geographical populations of Anagyrus pseudococci (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), parasitoids of Planococcus spp. (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), with notes on Anagyrus dactylopii. Biological Control 41: 14-24.