Systematic position: Insecta, Holometabola, Hymenoptera, Apocrita, Aphelinidae.

Geographic distribution: Wherever the whitefly hosts occur.

Morphology:: The adults are almost 1.0 mm in length, body mostly yellow, eyes dark-red. Larvae small, whitish, apodous, with clear segmentation and retracted mouthparts.

Hosts: Various whiteflies.

Life history: The species of Eretmocerus are endoparasitoids that lay their eggs (about 130-170/female) singly under the developing body of the host whitefly nymph. The 2nd and 3rd host instars are usually preferred over the preceding or following instars. The emerging parasitoid larva immediately invades the host body and feeds on its body fluids. Total development at 25ºC requires about 2-3 weeks and the adults live for about a fortnight. The whitefly’s host plant may affect the fecundity of the parasitoid; E. mundus Mercet laid more eggs in whiteflies infesting squash, followed by those on beans, and least on sweet pepper. Some species of Eretmocerus are thelytokous.

Economic importance: Several species of Eretmocerus are major natural enemies of Bemisia tabaci in different parts of the world, and were introduced for this purpose into other regions. They kill the whiteflies by host feeding and by parasitization. In the Middle East E. mundus is a major enemy of B. tabaci. Eretmocerus siphonini Viggiani and Battaglia often controls Aleurolobus marlatti in Egypt. In Israel, Cyprus and Turkey E. debachi Rose and Rosen controls Parabemisia myricae. Several species of Eretmocerus , especially E. mundus, are in commerce.

Effect of Pesticides: The herbicide paraquat and several organophosphates were very harmful to Eretmocerus debachi. Imidacloprid and an insect growth regulator killed E. mundus.


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Sohrabi, F., Shishehbor, P., Saber, M. and Mosaddegh, M.S. 2013. Lethal and sublethal effects of imidacloprid and buprofezin on the sweetpotato whitefly parasitoid Eretmocerus mundus (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae). Crop Protection 45: 98-103.

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