Biodiversity of Biocontrol Agents in Sunflower Ecosystem
Several species of both beneficial and harmful insects are associated with sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). In sunflower ecosystem, 48 species of natural enemies are recorded comprising 7 parasitoids, 24 insect predators, 9 spiders and 8 predatory birds. Majority of the insect predators belong to Coleoptera,Hemiptera, Mantodea, Orthoptera, Odonata and Neuroptera whereas hymenopterans comprised both predators and parasitoids. Among the 48 species of natural enemies recorded in the sunflower ecosystem, the predominant species are Trichogramma chilonis Ishii (on eggs of Helicoverpa armigera), Charops obtusus Morley (on Spilarctia obliqua Walker), Campoletis chlorideae Uchida, Rhogas percurrens Lyle (on H. armigera larvae) and Cotesia flavipes (Cameron) (on Spodoptera litura larvae). Among predators, coccinellids, Cheilomenes sexmaculata (F.), Brumoides suturalis (Fab.), Chilocorus nigritas (F.), Coccinella septempunctata L. and Scymnus sp. keep a good check on eggs and early stage larvae of Lepidoptera and sucking pests. In addition, Chrysoperla (carnea-group), Eocanthecona furcellata (Wolff), Rhynocoris kumarii Ambrose and Livingstone, Geocoris tricolor F. and Anthocoris sp., mantids, Eumantissa sp., Ceriagrion coromandelianum (F.), Ischnura sp., Dolichopus sp., Therevia sp., microbial agents and predatory birds play a vital role in the suppression of insect pests in sunflower. Though the activity of major predators like coccinellids and spiders was noticed in all the cropping seasons, maximum population was found during September and January, coinciding with the maximum population of insect pests.
Sunflower, Biocontrol Agents, Biodiversity.
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