Rawa Muhsen Youssef, Nabil Hasan Abo Kaf, Rafeek Abboud and Abdel Rahman Mohammad Al Tawaha
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is an important edible and nutritious fruit regarded by nutritionist as a vegetable. It is an important source of vitamins and significantly contributes to economic development. However, the production of tomatoes is heavily affected by climate change, insect pests, disease and the new devastating pest of tomatoes, the tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). This study includes a description of Aphanogmus clavicornis Thomson, 1858 (Hymenoptera: Ceraphronoidea), a primary parasitoid of T. absoluta whose larvae feed on all parts of the tomato plant. It is the first record of T. absoluta as a host of genus Aphanogmus worldwide and a first record of A. clavicornis in both Syria and the Middle East. Description, biology and the taxonomic characters of the new species were provided. The new record of natural parasitism of T. absoluta by A. clavicornis would add knowledge on biological control of the pest and could become an additional option for the integrated pest management of those crops where T. absoluta is a key pest. This finding will be baseline for future research. It would be interesting to investigate if A. clavicornis can be produced in large scale under laboratory conditions and test its potential use as a biological control agent within integrated pest management programs.
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