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Biological Control of the Banana Skipper, Pelopidas thrax (Linnaeus), (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) in Hawaii

Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society
Smithsonian Institution Biodiversity Heritage Library
Publication Date
  • Biology


Vol. XXIII, No. 2, February 1980 231 Biological Control of the Banana Skipper, Pelopidas thrax (Linnaeus), (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) in Hawaii1 Ronald F.L. Mau2, Kenneth Murai3, Bernarr Kumashiro3, and Kenneth Teramoto3 The banana skipper, Pelopidas thrax (Linnaeus), (=Erionota thrax) was discovered in Hawaii in August 1973 (Davis and Kawamura 1975). Sub sequent surveys indicated that the pest was confined to Hickam AFB and Fort Kamehameha. An eradication program was initiated and continued until infestations were discovered in other areas. By this time, sources for two promising parasite species were located, and a biological control program was initiated. Mass colonization and distribution of the parasites were carried out by the Entomology Branch of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Three species of parasitic Hymenoptera were introduced. These were Ooencyrtus erionotae Ferriere (Encyrtidae), Apanteles erionotae Wilkinson (Braconidae), and Scenocharops sp. (Ichneumonidae). The egg parasite, O. erionotae, was received in September 1973 from Guam and the initial release of this parasite was made on November 8, 1973 (Nakaoetal. 1975). The larval parasite, A. erionotae, was introduced from Thailand in December 1973 (Nakao and Funasaki 1976) and from Malaysia in July, 1974. The initial release was made in January 1974, and periodic releases followed from laboratory reared stock. The third introduced parasite was Scenocharops sp., an ichneumonid parasite of skipper larvae (Nakao and Funasaki 1976). Attempts to mass rear this parasite were unsuccessful. However, a total of 35 adults from the original stock were released at Waiahole and Kaneohe, Oahu during November and December 1974. To our knowledge, this parasite did not become established. In addition, four other species of parasitic Hymenoptera were occa sionally reared out of field collected P. thrax eggs and pupae. These were: Anastatus sp. (Eupelmidae), Trichogramma sp. (Trichogrammatidae), Ec- thromorphafuscator Fabricius (Ichneumon

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