Department of Plant Protection, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Iran.
The pink hibiscus mealybug Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green)(Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) is a serious economic pest in tropical and subtropical regions and causes damage to many agricultural, forestry and greenhouse crops. In order to identify the natural enemies of this pest, bi-weekly samplings were done in infested areas of Ahvaz, located at southwest Iran during 2011-2012. Samples were also taken from Chinese hibiscus shrubs, Hibiscusrosa-sinensis L. at two urban areas in Ahvaz to determine the pest population fluctuations. Other infested plants were also sampled for exploring natural enemiesassociated with M. hirsutus. The identified natural enemies in this study are as follows: Nephus arcuatus Kapur, Hyperaspis polita Weise, Hyperaspis vinciquerrae Capra, Exochomus nigripennis Erichson, Scymnus (Pullus) syriacus Marseul (Col., Coccinellidae) – Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neu., Chrysopidae) – Anagyrus sp. (Hym., Encyrtidae). Also one parasitoid of coccinellid larvae and three species of hyperparasitoids were identified as follows: Homalotylus quaylei Timberlake (parasitoid of coccinellid larvae), Prochiloneurus aegyptiacus (Mercet), Prochiloneurus bolivari Mercet (Hym., Encyrtidae) and Chartocerus kurdjumovi (Nikol’skaya) (Hym., Signiphoridae). The coccinellid H. vinciquerrae is new to the fauna of Iran. The natural enemies, i.e. N. arcuatus and Anagyrus sp. had the highest populations on the host plants throughout the year.
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