Comparative Morphometric Studies of The Habrobracon hebetor-brevicornis and Bracon lefroyi-greeni Complexes of Braconid Wasps (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Braconinae)
Keywords:Biocontrol, parasitoid, biotypes, character, complex, identification, morphometrics.
The accurate identification of parasitoids is of immense importance to biological control programs. Despite their economic importance and commonly occurring, the taxonomy of <i>Habrobracon hebetor-brevicornis</i> and <i>Bracon lefroyigreeni</i> complexes is difficult and currently confused being cryptic and occurring as distinct populations as well as groups of populations. Thus, there exists confusion in species recognition and the diagnosis of the appropriate host can dramatically affect the outcome of a biological control program. This study focuses on the morphometric variations in females of five biotypes in each complex associated with different hosts and localities. Statistical analyses, such as Unweighted Pair-Group Method Arithmetic Average (UPGMA) cluster analysis, Canonical Discriminant Analysis and Predictive Discriminant Analysis were used to analyse the complexes, and these also enabled the identification of taxonomically important characters in differentiating the population and grouping. The evidence presented here rationalizes the confusion between the species complexes, and the additional morphological characters brought out here will help to resolve the taxonomic complexity.