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Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology
Volume 22 (1), 2019, Pages 183-188

Piloting the use of DNA barcoding in support of natural enemy surveys: New parasitoid records for banana skippers (Erionota spp., Lepidoptera, Hesperiidae) in Malaysia

Matthew J.W.Cock, Alan G.Buddie, Giovanni Cafa

CABI, Bakeham Lane, Egham, Surrey TW20 9TY, UK.


We report a preliminary study carried out in Peninsular Malaysia, with the objective of rearing parasitoids of the two species of banana skippers (Erionota thrax and E. torus: Lepidoptera, Hesperiidae) and using DNA barcoding of Erionota spp. early stages (which are indistinguishable) and host remains to associate parasitoids with their host Erionota species. We were able to use barcodes to reliably identify the dead host remains, unreliably identify a limited subset of associated material (exuviae, frass, pupal exoskeleton, silk, wax) and to make provisional generic identifications of the parasitoids. We found parasitism by Argyrophylax sp. possibly phoeda (Tachinidae) on both species of Erionotus, by ?Casinaria sp. (Ichneumonidae) on E. thrax, and by Elasmus sp. (Eulophidae) on E. torus. The first is a new host-parasitoid association, and the second is a new association for Peninsular Malaysia. We conclude that the use of DNA barcoding, particularly for recently dead host remains, is a valuable tool to assess host-parasitoid associations where the hosts cannot be reliably identified from morphological characters.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: DNA barcoding, Lepidoptera, Hesperiidae, Erionota thrax, Erionota torus, Argyrophylax, Casinaria, Elasmus, Natural enemy, Parasitoid.

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