Sagarra, L.A., Peterkin, D.D., Vincent, C., & Stewart, R.K. 2000 Immune response of the hibiscus mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus Green (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae), to oviposition of the parasitoid Anagyrus kamali Moursi (Hymenoptera : Encyrtidae).. Journal of Insect Physiology 46(5): 647-653.

Notes: Anagyrus kamali Moursi has been recently introduced into the Caribbean as a biological agent against the hibiscus mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus Green. This host has a cellular defense reaction that involves encapsulation and melanization of the endoparasitoid egg. The impact of this immune response on the parasitoid progeny was assessed, as well as the response of the parasitoid countermeasures to overcome it. Under laboratory conditions, significant differences in the immune response were found for different developmental stages of M. hirsutus. The intensity of the immune response varied between second instar, third instar and adult mealybugs. After 30 h, the level of encapsulation was the highest for eggs oviposited in adults: 58% of eggs were encapsulated, followed by third (32%) and second (4%) instars. Three days after oviposition 23, 44 and 86% of the parasitoid eggs oviposited, respectively, in adult, third and second instars were not encapsulated. The unencapsulated parasitoid eggs could hatch and continue their development. Adult mealybugs required 30 h to encapsulate 50% of the eggs, whereas in second and third instars, 50% level encapsulation was never reached. Superparasitism had a saturating effect on the immune system; reduced levels of encapsulation occurred when more than 10 eggs were oviposited in a single mealybug. Wasp larvae were never encapsulated by M. hirsutus.