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Nezara viridula   (L.) -- Hemiptera,  Pentatomidae





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Southeast Asia is considered the center of origin of this species (Yukawa & Kiritani 1965).  The pest is presently found throughout the tropics and subtropics of all continents.  However, Hokkanen (1986) suggested that N. viridula is of Ethiopian origin, based on records of polymorphism as well as the number of host specific parasitoids in that region.  Because it is an immigrant pest of many important crops, many attempts to establish parasitoids into newly invaded areas have been made.  Programs in Hawaii and Australia have been very successful (Caltagirone 1981), and importation and release of natural enemies are currently being expanded in Africa, South America, New Zealand, Taiwan and the United States (Jones 1988).  The success in Australia gives the greatest insight into the conditions for successful biological control of this insect.


Nezara viridula was first recorded in Australia in 1913 and has since been the subject of several successful biological control projects, mainly involving colonization of the egg parasitoid Trissolcus basalis ,<PHOTO>, imported from Egypt and Pakistan.  The early history of control by importation of natural enemies was recorded by Clausen (1978), Caltagirone (1981) and Wilson (1960).  Kogan et al. (1999) updated this history and assessed factors that may have led to the successful control of the pest in Australia.


The pest spread to the Ord Valley in northwestern Australia in 1974, over a decade after the last introduction of parasitoids from Pakistan to other parts of Australia.  Within two years it had become a severe pest due to its polyphagous habit that enables it do damage many vegetable and field crops.  Damage was so severe in sorghum that fields had to be abandoned.  The parasitoid, T basalis was reared in an insectary and ca. 44,100 were released in fields in the Ord Valley.  The host population began to decline due to parasitism a few months later and good control was obtained (Strickland 1981).  Subsequent observations indicated that the parasitoids were usually present regardless of the level of abundance of the host population.  Conditions that helped to maintain populations of stinkbugs at low levels and prevented their upsurge following their decline were explained by (1) the prevailing cropping system in the Ord Valley involved diverse plant species that were infested by the stink bug at different population levels.  The parasitoids, therefore, were able to move from centers of high host population to centers of low host populations, thereby maintaining an overall low equilibrium position throughout the entire spectrum of crops; and (2) in addition to N. viridula, T. basalis attacked several other locally occurring pentatomids and thus had a continuous supply of hosts (Strickland 1981).


The success of T. basalis as the parasitoid of very mobile and polyphagous pest is attributable to a combination of the characteristics of its own host range and the characteristics of the feeding range of its host species.  That combination guaranteed an environment that continually provided fresh adult parasitoids capable of keeping the pest a low population levels.  As N. viridula is a major pest of many short term crops in most parts of the world, efforts to control it by means of natural enemies continue.  According to Jones (1988), African and Asian egg parasitoids in the genera Trissolcus, Telenomus, and Gryon and six New World tachinid adult parasitoids deserve consideration in biological control.  The tachinids are Trichopoda pennipes (F.), T. pilipes (F.), T. giacomellii (Blanchard), T. gustavoi (Mallea), Eutrichopodopis nitens Blanchard, and Ectophasiopis arcuata (Bigot).


Simmonds (1976) elaborated on the introduction of pentatomid egg parasitoids from Pakistan into Australia in 1961 for biological control of Nezara viridula.  After the parasitoids from Pakistan had been bred in the laboratory in Australia for some time and then certain species released, a much better biological control of Nezara was obtained than previously, which was attributed to the fact that the Pakistan strain of Asolcus (Trissolcus) basalis was much more effective in some areas than the strains that had previously been introduced and established in Australia (Ratcliffe 1965).  This successful strain was then sent from Australia to California.  It seems that the evidence for the success of a Pakistan strain is circumstantial and it is even more puzzling because A. basalis is not thought to have been present in the material sent to Australia, and was not either recorded from Pakistan. 


For additional details on biological control efforts and biologies of hosts and natural enemies, please see the following (Newman & O'Connor 1934, Noble 1937, Kamal 1938, Lever 1941b, 1943a; Jenkins 1948, Cumber 1949, 1951, 1953, 1964, O'Connor 1950, Everett 1958, Wilson 1961, Davis 1964, 1967; Davis & Krauss 1965, Ratcliffe 1965, Ganesalingham 1966, Kiritani 1966, Shahjahan 1968).



REFERENCES:              [Additional references may be found at:   MELVYL Library ]


Caltagirone, L. E.  1981.  Landmark examples in classical biological control.  Ann. Rev. Ent. 26:  213-32.


Clausen, C. P.  1978.  Introduced Parasites and Predators of Arthropod Pests and Weeds:  A World Review.  U. S. Dept. Agric., Agric. Handbk. 480.  545 p.


Cumber, R. A.  1949.  The green vegetable bug Nezara viridula.  New Zealand J. Agric. Res. 79:  563-64.


Cumber, R. A.  1951.  The introduction into New Zealand of Microphanurus basalis Woll. (Scelionidae: Hym.), egg-parasite of the green vegetable bug, Nezara viridula L. (Pentatomidae).  New Zealand J. Sci. Technol. 32 (B):  30-7.


Cumber, R. A.  1953.  The establishment in New Zealand of Microphanurus basalis Woll. (Scelionidae: Hym.), egg-parasite of the green vegetable bug, Nezara viridula L.  (Pentatomidae).  New Zealand J. Sci. TEchnol. 34 (B):  267-69.


Cumber, R. A.  1964.  The egg-parasite complex (Scelionidae: Hymenoptera) of shield bugs (Pentatomidae, Acanthosomidae: Heteroptera) in New Zealand.  New Zealand J. Sci. 7:  536-54.


Davis, C. J.  1964.  The introduction, propagation, liberation, and establishment of parasites to control Nezara viridula variety smaragdula (Fabricius) in Hawaii (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae).  Hawaii. Ent. Soc. Proc. 18:  369-75.


Davis, C. J.  1967.  Progress in the biological control of southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula variety smaragdula (Fabricius) in Hawaii (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae).  Mushi 39:  9-16.


Davis, C. J. & N. L. H. Krauss.  1965.  Recent introductions for biological control in Hawaii--X.  Hawaii. Ent. Soc. Proc. 19:  87-90.


Everett, P.  1958.  The green vegetable bug.  New Zealand J. Agric. 97:  469, 471-72.


Ganesalingam, V. K.  1966.  Some environmental factors influencing parasitization of the eggs of Nezara viridula L. (Pentatomidae) by Telonomus basalis Wollaston (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae).  Ceylon J. Sci., Biol. Sci. 6:  1-14.


Hokkanen, H.  1986.  Polymorphism, parasites and the native area of Nezara viridula (Hemiptera, Pentatomidae).  Ann. Ent. Fennici 52:  28-31.


Jenkins, C. F. H.  1948.  Biological control in Western Australia. Roy. Soc. West. Austral. J. 32 (1945-46):  1-17.


Jones, W. A.  1988.  World review of the parasitoids of the southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula (L.) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae).  Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer. 81:  262-73.


Kamal, M.  1938.  The cotton green bug, Nezara viridula L. and its important egg-parasite, Microphanurus megacephalus (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Proctotrupidae).  Roy. Ent. Soc. d'Egypte 21:  175-207.


Kiritani, K.  1966.  The biology and control of the southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula L.  Kusunoki-Noho (Japan) 20:  1-21.


Kogan, M., D. Gerling & J. V. Maddox.  1999.  Enhancement of Biological Control in Transient Agricultural Environments.  In:  Bellows, T. S. & T. W. Fisher (eds.), Handbook of Biological Control:  Principles and Applications.  Academic Press, San Diego, New York.  1046 p


Lever, R. J. A. W.  1941.  Entomological Notes.  Fiji Dept. Agric. Agric. J. 12:  45-50.


Levern, R. J. A. W.  1943.  Division of Entomology.  Annual Report for 1942.  Fiji Dept. Agric. Agric. J. 14:  83-5.


Newman, L. J. & B. A. O'Connor.  1934.  Green tomato bug.  West. Austral. Dept. Agric. J. 11:  101-12.


Noble, N. S.  1937.  An egg parasite of the green vegetable bug.  Agric. Gaz. N. S. Wales, Misc. Publ. 3094:  337-41.


O'Connor, B. A.  1950.  Trichopoda pennipes F. in Fiji and the British Solomon Islands.  Fiji Dept. Agric., Agric. J. 21:  63-71.


Ratcliffe, F. N.  1965.  Biological control.  Austral. J. Sci. 28:  237-40.


Shahjahan, M.  1968a.  Superparasitization of the southern green stink bug by the tachinid parasite Trichopoda pennipes pilipes and its effect on the host and parasite survival.  J. Econ. Ent. 61:  1088-1091.


Simmonds, F. J.  1972.  Approaches to biological control problems.  Entomophaga 17:  251-.


Simmonds, F. J.  1976.  Some recent puzzles in biological control.  Entomophaga 21:  327-32.


Strickland, G. R.  1981.  Integrating insect control for Ord soybean production.  J. Agric. West. Australia 22:  81-82.


Wilson, F.  1960.  A review of the biological control of insects and weeds in Australia and Australian New Guinea.  Commonwealth Inst. Biol. Control Tech. Commun. 1. 102 p.


Wilson, F.  1961.  Adult reproductive behavior in Asolcus basalis (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae).  Austral. J. Zool. 9:  737-51.


Yukawa, J. & K. Kiritani.  1965.  Polymorphism in the southern green stink bug.  Pac. Insects 7:  639-42.