Microplitis rufiventris Kokujev
Morphology: The adult body and the head, including the straight antennae, are mostly black, the abdomen is partially yellow and the legs are yellow.
Geographical distribution: Mediterranean region and introduced into North America.
Life history: Microplitis rufiventris is an endoparasitoid that attacks the young larvae of some noctuids. A single egg is placed in the host and the emerging parasitoid larva feeds on the host hemolymph. Mean developmental time, from oviposition to adult emergence, is 14-16 days at 28°C, depending on the host species.
Economic importance: Microplitis rufiventris is an important natural enemy of several important noctuid pests, such as Spodoptera littoralis, S. exigua and Helicoverpa zea Boddie in Egypt. The parasitoid was imported from Egypt into the USA, where it successfully controlled several lepidopterous pests. Efforts to apply entomopathogenic nematodes along with the parasitoid had no clear controlling advantage. Several methods for mass-reaing M. rufiventris are available.
Atwa, A.A., Hegazi, E.M., Khafagi, W.E. and Abd El-Aziz, G.M. 2013. Interaction of the koinobiont parasitoid Microplitis rufiventris of the cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis, with two entomopathogenic Rhabditids, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and Steinernema carpocapsae. Journal of Insect Science 13: 84.
Gerling, D. 1971. Occurrence, abundance, and efficiency of some local parasitoids attacking Spodoptera littoralis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in selected cotton fields in Israel. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 64: 492-499.
Hegazi, E.M. and Führer, E. 1985. Instars of Microplitis rufiventris (Hymoptera; Braconidae) and their relative developmental speed under different photoperiods. Entomophaga 30: 231–243.
Hegazi, E.M. and Khafagi, W.E. 2008. The effects of host age and superparasitism by the parasitoid, Microplitis rufiventris on the cellular and humoral immune response of Spodoptera littoralis larvae. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 98:79-84.
McCutcheon, G.S. and Harrison, W. 1987. Host range and development of Microplitis rufiventris (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) - an imported parasitoid of several Lepidopterous pests. Environmental Entomology 16: 855-858.