Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR)

Aroplectrus dimerus
((insect))

  
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Following six years of host specificity testing in the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) Quarantine Facility and a lengthy permitting process, the parasitic wasp Aroplectrus dimerus Lin was released in Hawaii to begin its fight as a biological control agent against the invasive pest Darna pallivitta (nettle caterpillar). The parasitic wasp was released on Oahu and neighbor islands in commercial plant nurseries, natural (wild) habitat, as well as private residences where sizable infestations of nettle caterpillar were detected. Aroplectrus dimerus is now established in the field, and has caused a decline in populations of the nettle caterpillar. Aroplectrus dimerus, working in concert with a naturally-occuring larval disease, suppressed the nettle caterpillar populations by as much as 60-90%. HDOA's field evaluation on the effectiveness of this biocontrol agent is currently ongoing (2011). 


Taxonomy & nomenclature

Aroplectrus dimerus information from ITIS
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System ITIS provides authoritative taxonomic information on Aroplectrus dimerus, as well as other plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.


Biocontrol (potential for use as)

Nettle caterpillar - New Pest Advisory View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Description, distribution, images, and information about biocontrol for Darna pallivitta are in the pest advisory from Hawaii Department of Agriculture (updated 4/2011).

Wasp released to help fight stinging caerpillar
Hawaii state agriculture officials released a predatory stingless wasp (Aroplectrus dimerus) from Taiwan to control the stinging caterpillar (video and news article, Big Island Video News, 6/17/2010).

Field release of Aroplectrus dimerus Lin (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) for biological control of the nettle caterpillar, Darna pallivitta (Moore) (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae), in Hawaii View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The Draft Environmental Assessment on the release of a biocontrol agent against the nettle caterpillar was prepared by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Branch (2007).

Annual report for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for FY2008 View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The annual report for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for fiscal year 2008 includes information on--among other things--new pest detections and identification, and projects of the branch's Biological Control and Chemical/Mechanical (CM) Sections.

Field release of Aroplectrus dimerus Lin (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) for biological control of the nettle caterpillar, Darna pallivitta (Moore) (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae), in Hawaii View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The draft environmental assessment regarding biological control of the nettle caterpillar was prepared by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (November 2007).

Aroplectrus dimerus information (biocontrol in Hawaii) from HEAR.org
Information about Aroplectrus dimerus as it is relevant to biocontrol (biological control) efforts in Hawaii is provided by the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).


Videos

Wasp released to help fight stinging caerpillar
Hawaii state agriculture officials released a predatory stingless wasp (Aroplectrus dimerus) from Taiwan to control the stinging caterpillar (video and news article, Big Island Video News, 6/17/2010).


Images

Nettle caterpillar - New Pest Advisory View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Description, distribution, images, and information about biocontrol for Darna pallivitta are in the pest advisory from Hawaii Department of Agriculture (updated 4/2011).


In the news

Wasp released to help fight stinging caerpillar
Hawaii state agriculture officials released a predatory stingless wasp (Aroplectrus dimerus) from Taiwan to control the stinging caterpillar (video and news article, Big Island Video News, 6/17/2010).

Bugs readied for eco-battle
The erythrina gall wasp, nettle caterpillar, and Madagascar fireweed are Hawaii pests that may be combatted by biocontrol agents if Hawaii receives federal approval for their release (Honolulu Advertiser, 5/11/2008).


Full-text articles

Field release of Aroplectrus dimerus Lin (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) for biological control of the nettle caterpillar, Darna pallivitta (Moore) (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae), in Hawaii View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The Draft Environmental Assessment on the release of a biocontrol agent against the nettle caterpillar was prepared by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Branch (2007).


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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) project was historically funded by the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) through PIERC (USGS) with support from HCSU (UH Hilo). More details are available online. Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII)

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