The Asian Chestnut Gall Wasp in Italy: Surveys on its Native and Exotic Parasitoids as Well as on Chestnut Cultivar Susceptibility

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M. Bracalini
F. Croci
A. Turchi
E. Giordani
R. Tiberi
T. Panzavolta


In the context of biological control against the Asian chestnut gall wasp Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) in Italy, the aim of this study was to survey its native parasitoids as well as the exotic Torymus sinensis Kamijo which had been introduced and released as a biological control agent. Furthermore, both parasitism and pest susceptibility of local chestnut trees were investigated. Surveys were carried out in 2014 in the Municipality of Sambuca Pistoiese (Pistoia), in a chestnut forest which included three cultivars: Nerattino, Carpinese, and Pastinese. On a total of 35 trees, selected among the three cultivars, 24 current-year shoots were randomly collected and examined in the laboratory. After the damage by the cynipid had been assessed, leaf samples were used for molecular analyses. Galls were also collected on the 35 selected trees both for dissection and to rear parasitoid specimens in the laboratory. The three cultivars were confirmed by genetic tests. The Carpinese cultivar resulted to be the most damaged, with highest percentage of attacked shoots (84.38%). Moreover it was also the cultivar with the lower parasitism rate (about 16%). From reared galls seven parasitoid species emerged, all belonging to the superfamily of Chalcidoidea. Exception made for the non-native T. sinensis, the other six were native species associated to oak gall wasps.  Native parasitoids were more scarcely present, while the exotic T. sinensis amounted for the 84.27% of all emerged parasitoids. Our results confirm how chestnut susceptibility to D. kuriphilus varies depending on the cultivar. Overall, the Nerattino cultivar resulted as the best among the three examined: it was subject to a less intense attack than the other cultivars, and the resulting smaller galls were more effectively exploited by parasitoids.

Dryocosmus kuriphilus, Torymus sinensis, biological control, Cynipidae, chestnut growing.

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How to Cite
Bracalini, M., Croci, F., Turchi, A., Giordani, E., Tiberi, R., & Panzavolta, T. (2019). The Asian Chestnut Gall Wasp in Italy: Surveys on its Native and Exotic Parasitoids as Well as on Chestnut Cultivar Susceptibility. Asian Journal of Advances in Agricultural Research, 11(3), 1-8.
Original Research Article