A study of the biological characteristics and thermal requirements of the parasitoid Trichogramma pretiosum Riley, 1879 (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) on eggs of Trichoplusia ni (Hübner, 1802) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) at several different temperatures was performed in this work. Eggs of T. ni were exposed to T. pretiosum strain Tspd parasitism for 5 hr and then transferred to environmentally controlled growth chambers set at the temperatures of 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, and 33 ± 1°C. The duration of the T. pretiosum egg-to-adult period was affected by temperature, varying from 6 to 18 d over the range of the studied temperatures. The number of individuals emerged per egg and the sex ratio also were affected by temperature variations, but regression analysis did not find correlation between the increase of temperature and the observed variation of these biological parameters. Similarly, parasitism viability (percentage) was influenced by temperature variation, but always exceeded 80% at all tested temperatures. The thermal lower limit of development (Tbase) and the thermal constant (K) for T. pretiosum were 11.84°C and 128.37 DD, respectively. These results here reported indicate that T. pretiosum was impacted by the temperature, however, this parasitoid had a satisfactory performance on T. ni eggs at all studied temperature (from 18 to 33°C), showing potential to be used successfully as a biological control agent of this pest in different regions that fit in this tested temperature range. Also, the rearing temperature of this parasitoid might be changed from 18 to 33°C, according to commercial demands for accelerating or retarding mass production for field releases without damages to the parasitoid development.
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