The tiny black wasps found associated with the Coconut Scale Insect (Aspidiotus rigidus Reyne) infesting coconuts in Calauan, Laguna and collected in 2014 by a team lead by Curator Mario V. Navasero have been formally described by MNH Curator Dr. Alberto T. Barrion and Drs. Billy Joel M. Almarinez, Divina M. Amalin and Jose Santos R. Carandang of De La Salle University's Biology Department.

In a recently published article of Asia Life Sciences (Vol. 25, No. 1), the authors described and illustrated a new species of Comperiella Howard 1906, only the second species of the genus known to occur in the Philippines.

The new encyrtid was named Comperiella calauanica Barrion, Almarinez and Amalin sp. n. based on its type-locality, Calauan in Laguna. The holotype female and eight paratypes are now deposited in the Parasitic Hymenoptera Collection of the UPLB Museum of Natural History.

Comperiella wasps are members of a large and globally distributed insect family called the Encyritidae. Comperiella species are important biological control agents as their larvae parasitize on the eggs of coconut scale insects in the field.

Of these, only one species, C. bifasciata Howard has been reported to occur in the Philippines. It was introduced from Japan in 1935 to control the California red scale (Aonidiella aurantii) of citrus.

C. calauanica, the researchers reported, is a promising biological regulator of CSI populations in Southern Tagalog. According to the researchers, C. calauanica have been collected in 13 areas in four provinces: Laguna (Calauan, Alaminos, Los Banos, San Pablo City, Rizal and Nagcarlan), Cavite (Silang, and Tagaytay), Batangas (Malvar, Talisay, Tanauan and Sto. Tomas) and Quezon (Candelaria).

Their studies have also shown that parasitism by the wasps on CSI in the afflicted coconut- planted areas of Laguna, Batangas and Cavite ranged from 65-92% in August of 2014.


Planning a visit? Locate us here