Searching and oviposition behavior and parasitization ability of Anagrus nigriventris Girault (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae), an egg parasitoid of beet leafhopper, Circulifer tenellus (Baker) (Homoptera: Cicadellidae), were examined on five host plant species of beet leafhopper: sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.), red stem filaree (Erodium cicutarium [L.]), peppergrass (Lepidium nitidum Nuttall), desert plantain (Plantago ovata Forsskal), and London rocket (Sisymbrium irio L.). Beet leafhopper embeds its eggs in the tissues of these plant species. For each plant species, A. nigriventris behavior was examined on plants with and without beet leafhopper eggs. Experimental design was a 5 (plant species) by 2 (host eggs present/absent) factorial. Additionally within each treatment, parasitoid behavior was observed over a 22-h period at five different observation periods: t = 0, 3, 6, 9, and 22 h where t = 0 h represents initial exposure of the insect with the plant. The behavioral events observed were: 'fast walking' (general searching), 'slow walking' (intensive searching), ovipositor probing, grooming, feeding, and resting. Significant differences (α = 0.05) among plant species in time spent on the plant, percentage of host eggs parasitized, and behavioral variables associated with intensive searching and oviposition all indicated that the plant species fell into two groups: 'preferred' plants (sugar beet, London rocket, and peppergrass), and 'unpreferred plants (filaree and plantago). These variables also indicated that the parasitoids spent more time on, searched more, probed more, and oviposited more in plants with host eggs than plants without host eggs. Consistent effects of time (over the observation periods from t = 0 to t = 22 h) generally were detected only in the preferred plant species that had host eggs present. In these cases, intensive searching and probing decreased as time advanced, while variables related to general searching ('fast walking') and abandoning host egg patches (leaving the plant) tended to increase over time.
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