Foreign exploration for natural enemies of the Colorado potato beetle in Central and South America

Robert J. O'Neil, Luis A. Cañas, John J. Obrycki

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13 Scopus citations


To expand the area searched for natural enemies of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say) we collected throughout Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador and also made collecting trips to Colombia, Bolivia, and Ecuador. In South America the only Leptinotarsa beetles encountered were L. undecimlineata (Say) collected in Colombia, where few natural enemies were found. In Central America, L. undecimlineata Stål was again the only Leptinotarsa collected, and this species was found commonly on several wild Solanum species. Among natural enemies collected from L. undecimlineata were several species of tachinid parasitoids (Myiopharus spp.), the egg parasitoid Edovum puttleri Grissell, and several hyperparasitic species (Exoristobia sp., Perilampus sp., and Conura n. sp.). Only one pathogen, the microsporidium Endoreticulatus fidelis (Hostounsky and Weiser) was found. Predators included a number of generalists, primarily of the egg, and early larval stages. The ectoparasitic mite, Chrysomelobia spp., was also observed under the elytra of infested beetles. Although many of the natural enemies had been discovered previously, options for importation biological control of L. decemlineata could be improved by a better understanding of the taxonomy of existing groups, determination of the specificity of the beetle's hyperparasitoids and predators, and further study of the impact of ectoparasitic mites and natural enemies attacking the pupal stage. Finally, the spatial and temporal occurrence of Leptinotarsa on their host plants suggest meta-population effects that could serve as selective forces influencing the densities and diversity of beetle natural enemies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Control
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all who helped us with collections and identifications, including Nuris Acosta, Tony Bellotti, Jeff Bentley, Ellie Burbano, Carlos Bogran, Patricio Gallegos, Enio Cano, Ron Cave, Varsovia Cevallos, Ray Cloyd, Gérard Delvare, Gilberto DeMoraes, Anna Gonzalez, Oliver Flint, Eric Grissell, Thomas Henry, Chuck McVean, Joe Maddox, Werner Melara, Maria Meléndez, Wilmar Morjan, Allen Norrbom, James O’Hara, George Piltz, Ben Puttler, Mike Schauff, Dick Shade, Steve Sherwood, David Smith, Natalia Vandenberg, Richard White, Rob Wiedenmann, Norm Woodley, and John Zenger. We thank the Zamorano College of Agriculture, Honduras; the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Colombia; the University of the Valley, Guatemala; USDA/ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory; and the National Agricultural Research Institute (INIAP) and Catholic University of Ecuador, for their logistical support. We also thank Tim Gibb and Cliff Sadof for their review of a previous draft of this manuscript. This research was supported, in part, from grants from USDA/RSED, and the Purdue University Research Foundation. This is Purdue Agricultural Research Programs manuscript number 17398.


  • Classical biological control
  • Colorado potato beetle natural enemies
  • Importation biological control
  • Leptinotarsa
  • Solanum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science


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