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DINARDO-MIRANDA, Leila Luci; FRACASSO, Juliano Vilela; COSTA, Viviane Pereira da  and  LOPES, Diego Olympio Teixeira. Dispersal of Cotesia flavipes in sugarcane field and implications for parasitoid releases. Bragantia [online]. 2014, vol.73, n.2, pp.163-170. ISSN 1678-4499.

Diatraea saccharalis Fabr. (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) is a major sugarcane pest in Brazil. The management of infested areas is based on the release of Cotesia flavipes (Cameron) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a parasitoid of D. saccharalis larvae, but there are doubts about the effectiveness of C. flavipes, primarily regarding its rate of dispersal in sugarcane fields. Thus, the objective of this study was to evaluate the dispersal of C. flavipes in a sugarcane field and suggest a release method that provides higher parasitoid efficiency. The study was carried out in four areas of approximately 1 ha, in which stalk pieces containing 20 D. saccharalis larvae were distributed in a rectangular grid, and 12,000 C. flavipes adults were released at four points, that were 50 m apart and 25 m from the field border. Three days later, the D. saccharalis larvae were recovered and kept in the laboratory until they reached pupal stage or C. flavipes emergence. Parasitism varied from 13.2% to 42.8%. The random distribution of parasitized larvae was found in one assay. In three areas, the parasitized larvae showed an aggregated distribution, with a range of 15 to 25 m. Since the parasite's success is directly linked to parasitoid dispersion, it would be interesting to move the release points to 30 m from each other because the dispersal may happen in a 15 m radius.

Keywords : sugarcane borer; Diatraea saccharalis; biological control; aggregation; pest management.

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