Host range of Gonatocerus sp near tuberculifemur 'Clade 1' in Argentina, an egg parasitoid newly associated to the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), and candidate for its biological control in California, USA
The South American egg parasitoid Gonatocerus sp. near tuberculifemur "Clade 1" (G. sp. "Clade 1") (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) is a new association of the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS), Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar) (Cicadellidae) and a candidate for its biological control in California, USA. In Argentina, G. sp. "Clade 1" was screened in the laboratory (no-choice tests) and in the field (multiple choice tests) against eggs of 32 Auchenorrhyncha host species and other four potential hosts unrelated to sharpshooters. In no-choice assays, it parasitized only eggs within the leafhopper tribe Proconiini. In contrast, in the long term field tests, it emerged not only from eggs of the Proconiini but also from two species of Cicadellini at low numbers (five wasps out of 698 exposed eggs). Two interpretations arise from the results: (1) Host associations of G. sp. "Clade 1" are restricted to the Proconiini whereas field parasitization of the Cicadellini species were false positive, or (2) G. sp. "Clade 1" parasitizes also some Cicadellini species and its rejection in the laboratory was a false negative. Both interpretations are discussed. Insect motivation could be the explanation for the negative results in the no-choice tests. On the other hand, in the more natural field situations, the host selection process and oviposition behavior should not have been affected and host range would be more realistic. The parasitism of the Cicadellini species would be indicative of a potential non-target effect on the sharpshooters in the USA.