Life history of the tick parasitoid Ixodiphagus hookeri (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) in Kenya

Keiji Takasu, Satoshi Nakamura

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11 Citations (Scopus)


We conducted laboratory and field experiments to elucidate the life history of Ixodiphagus hookeri, a parasitoid of the ixodid tick Amblyomma variegatum in Western Kenya. Ixodiphagus hookeri females oviposited in unfed host nymphs as well as engorged nymphs, but rarely in engorged larvae. While I. hookeri developed to adults in engorged nymphs, the eggs laid in unfed nymphs disappeared within 2 days after oviposition. As temperature increased, development time of I. hookeri from oviposition to adult emergence in engorged nymphs decreased from 46 days at 23 °C to 35 days at 28 °C, and their immature survival in engorged nymphs decreased from 67% at 23 °C to 22% at 28 °C. No parasitoid adult emerged from hosts at 30 °C. Individual hosts parasitized by single females produced 42-53 adult wasps, 73% of which were females. As a typical pro-ovigenic species, I. hookeri females had an average of 84 mature eggs at emergence and lived only for a few days. When laboratory-reared, unfed nymphs of A. variegatum were attached to cattle for 4-9 days in subsistence farmers' fields in Western Kenya, 25% of the engorged nymphs and 4% of the unfed nymphs on cattle were parasitized by I. hookeri, demonstrating that I. hookeri females search for and oviposit in A. variegatum nymphs on cattle. Unlike other strains of I. hookeri that overwinter as eggs in unfed nymphs, I. hookeri could continuously reproduce throughout the year in Western Kenya.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Control
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science


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