Goniozus legneri

Goniozus legneri Gordh

(There is some uncertainty about the correct name and identification of this species, whose correct names may be Goniozus swirskiana (Argaman) or Parasierola swirskiana Argman).

Systematic position: Insecta, Holometabola, Hymenoptera, Apocryta, Chalcidoidea, Bethylidae.

Morphology: Males and females have shiny-black heads and thoraces; the antennae and legs are yellow. Females differ from males by having a yellow abdomen, whereas that of males is black. Body length about 0.5 mm.

Distribution: Initially described from the Middle East, also recorded from the Americas.

Life history: Goniozus legneri is a parasitoid of the larvae of several Lepidoptera. The female paralyzes the host, laying about 100 eggs during her lifetime, more on the larger larvae. It will stay with the eggs and the growing parasitoid larvae as they completely consume the host. Adults can live for several weeks when nectar or honey are available, and they also also host feed. Development requires about 4 weeks at 20°C, 2-3 weeks days at 25°C. Of several moths exposed to the parasitoid in the laboratory for its mass-rearing, [Ephestia kuehniella[(pest/ Ephestia_ kuehniella) and Galleria mellonella (L.), the wax moth, were most suitable. The emerging parasitoids can be stored for 6-10 days at 10º F and 75% RH.

Economic importance: Goniozus legneri is an important, sometimes major, enemy of several pestiferous Lepidoptera. These include Batrachedra amydraula, Carpocapsa pomonella, Ectomyelois ceratoniae, Pectinophora gossypiella and others. A single parasitoid female may attack about a dozen B. amydraula during its life, and oviposition rates increase with increases in host density. The parasitoid was introduced into Israel and caused up to 30% mortality in _E. ceratoniae. A commercial product, “Goniozus”, is being grown by California Bioworks and sold for the control of several lepidopterous fruit pests.


Abbas, M.S.T., Shidi, R.H., Jumah, S. and Al-Khatry, S.A. 2008. Utilization of Goniozus sp. (Hym.: Bethylidae) as a bio-control agent against the lesser date moth, Batreachedra amydaraula (Meyrick) (lep.: Batrachedridae) in date palm orchards in Sultanate of Oman. Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control 18:47-50.

Abbas, M.S.T., Al-Khatry, S.A., Shidi, R.H.; Al-Ajmi, and Najat, A. 2014. Natural enemies of the lesser date moth, Batrachedra amydraula Meyrick (Lepidoptera: Batrachedridae) with special reference to its parasitoid Goniozus sp. Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control 24: 293-296.

Butler, G.D, Jr., and Schmidt, K.M. 1985. Goniozus legneri (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae): development, oviposition, and longevity in relation to temperature. _ Annals of the Entomological Society of America_ 78: 373–375.

El-Basha, N.A. and Mandour, N.S. 2006. Effect of Goniozus legneri Gordh (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae) on the life table of Palpita unionalis Hb. (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control 16: 5-11.

Etiam, A. 2001. Oviposition behavior and development of immature stages of Parasierola swirskiana, a parasitoid of the lesser moth Batrachedra amydraula. _ Phytoparasitica_ 29: 405-412.

Garrido, S., Cichon, L., Fernández, D. and Azevedo, C. 2005. Primera cita de la especie Goniozus legneri (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae) en el Alto Valle de Río Negro, Patagonia Argentina. Revue de Societe Entomologique Argentina 64: 14-16.

Gordh, G. and Evans, H. E. 1976. A new species of _Goniozus imported into California from Ethiopia for the biological control of pink bollworm and some notes on the taxonomic status of Parasierola and Goniozus (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 78: 479-489.

Gothilf, S. and Mazor, M. 1987. Release and recovery of imported parasites of the carob moth Spectrobates ceratoniae (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in Israel. Israel Journal of Entomology 21: 19-23.

Legner, E.F. and Gordh, G. 1992. Lower navel orangeworm (Lepidoptera: Phycitidae) population densities following establishment of Goniozus legneri (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae) in California. Journal of Economical Entomology 85: 2153-2160.

Legner, E.F. and Warkentin, E.F. 1988. Parasitization of Goniozus legneri (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae) at increasing parasite and host, Amyelois transitella (Lepidoptera: Phycitidae), densities. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 81: 774–776.

Shoeb, M.A., Abul-Fadl, H.A. and El-Heneidy, A.H. 2005. Biological aspects of the ecto-larval parasitoid, Goniozus legneri Gordh on different insect hosts under laboratory conditions. Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control 15: 5-9.

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