The Safflower capsule fly (SCF), Acanthiophilus helianthi Rossi (Diptera: Tephritidae) is the most destructive insect pest attacking the Safflower Carthamus tinctorius L. plant which are cultivated as an oil crop. It is mainly controlled through application of broad-spectrum insecticides, which can adversely affect safflower farms ecosystem and consequently human health. Since a first step in setting up an integrated pest management program is to assess the biological control agents within the ecosystem. Therefore, in this research work the pupal parasitoids of Safflower capsule fly a main insect pest attacking Safflower plants were identified. The impact of these parasitoids against this pest was evaluated on the varying pest generations and within different locations in Kohgiluyeh province during 2008-2009 seasons. Pupal parasitoid adults of SCF were recorded from fieldreared pupae, which had been collected from heavily infested small flower heads of the first generation as well from large flower heads of the second and third generations. Rate of parasitism on A. helianthi pupae was estimated as the number of parasitoids over the total count of parasitoids and flies. Ten hymenopterous species belonging to different families parasitizing insect pupae were screened as follows: Bracon hebetor (Spinola, 1808) and Bracon luteator (Spinola, 1808) (Braconidae); Isocolus tinctorious (Melika and Gharaei, 2006) (Cynipidae); Pronotalia carlinarum (Szelenyi and Erdos, 1951) (Eulophidae); Eurytoma acroptilae (Zerova, 1986) (Eurytomidae); Ormyrus orientalis (Walker, 1871) (Ormyridae); Colotrechnus viridis (Masi, 1921) and Pteromalus sp. (Walker, 1976) (Pteromalidae); and Antistrophoplex conthurnatus (Zerova, 2000) and Microdontomenus annulatus (Masi, 1899) (Torymidae). The average parasitization rate was 23±1 as revealed through the present study. The highest parasitization rate occurred during the first generation in all localities tested, as well as in years. Statistical analysis revealed that there were significant differences between parasitization rates by pupal parasitoids within various host generations and localities.
Biological control; Kohgiluyeh; pupal parasitoids; Safflower capsule fly.