Natural enemies associated with Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell) (Hemiptera: Dactylopiidae) in Morocco and their population fluctuations
Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell) (Hemiptera: Dactylopiidae) is the most important pest of prickly pear cactus Opuntia ficus-indica in Morocco in recent years. In order to identify the natural enemies associated with this pest, and determine their population fluctuations, samplings were carried out at two distinct areas, sampling area 1- Zemamra in the Sidi Bennour region (120 km north-west of Marrakech), Morocco and sampling area 2-Gharbia in the same region. 15 species were found and identified: Episyrphus balteatus de Geer, Eupeodes corollae Fabricius (Diptera: Syrphidae), Hyperaspis campestris (Herbst, 1783), Scymnus interruptus (Goeze). Scymnus loewii, Nephus redtenbacheri (Mulsant, 1846), Scymnus latemaculatus, Scymnus guttulatus LeConte, Exochomus nigripennis (Erichson, 1843), Coccinella septempunctata (Linnaeus, 1758), Hippodamia convergens, Chilocorus bipustulatus (Linnaeus, 1758), and Chilocorus politus (Mulsant, 1850) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and Emmelina Monodactyla (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae). Hyperaspis campestris was found to be the most important specie associated with D. opuntiae in study area-1 and Chilocorus bipustulatus in study area-2.
Keywords: Dactylopius opuntiae, Hyperaspis campestris, Chilocorus bipustulatus, biocontrol