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Publication #EENY 501

Leafminer Parasitoid Opius dissitus Muesebeck (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Braconidae)1

Jian Li, Dakshina Seal, and Gary Leibee2


The wasp Opius dissitus Muesebeck is a solitary, larva-pupal, Hymenopteran endoparasitoid of Liriomyza leafminers. Several studies report that O. dissitus were reared from Liriomyza (Diptera: Agromyzidae) leafminers infesting plant leaves of celery, tomato, potato, beans, etc. (unpublished data, Li et al.; Stegmaier 1972).


Opius dissitus is reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America (Bordat et al. 1995a; Petcharat et al. 2002; Stegmaier 1972; Neuenschwander 1987).

Description and Life Cycle

Adults: The adult O. dissitus are black in color. The antennae are black and thin, and almost the same length as their body.

Eggs: Opius dissitus females lay their eggs directly inside the late stage Liriomyza larvae bodies. The average size of the egg is about 0.28 mm (Bordat et al. 1995a).

Larvae: The O. dissitus larvae develop inside the Liriomyza leafminer larvae. However, the parasitized leafminer larvae still consume the tissue of plant leaves until their pupation. The O. dissitus larvae develop through two instars inside the leafminer larvae (Bordat et al. 1995a), and eventually kill the leafminer in the pupal stage. The mature O. dissitus larvae then pupate inside the leafminer pupae. The optimal temperature for O. dissitus development on host of L. trifolii is reported as 25°C–30°C (Bordat at al. 1995b).

Pupae: Opius dissitus early stage pupae are yellow and have red eyes, while the mature stage pupae are black in color. Opius dissitus adults emerge out of the leafminer pupae. One adult emerges from a single parasitized pupa (unpublished data Li et al.)

Figure 1. 

Dorsal view of an adult Opius dissitus Muesebeck, an endoparasite of Liriomyza leafminers.


Jian Li, UF/IFAS

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 2. 

Early stage pupa of Opius dissitus Muesebeck, an 
endoparasite of Liriomyza leafminers.


Jian Li, UF/IFAS

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 3. 

Early stage pupa of Opius dissitus Muesebeck, an endoparasite of Liriomyza leafminers.


Jian Li, UF/IFAS

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


In Florida, Opius dissitus larvae were found and collected, then reared to adults, from the leaves of several crops infested by Liriomyza leafminers (Stegmaier 1972; Schuster and Wharton 1993). Important Liriomyza economic pest species include the pea leafminer, L. huidobrensis (Blanchard); the vegetable leafminer, L. sativae Blanchard; and the American serpentine leafminer, L. trifolii (Burgess).

Economic Importance

Opius dissitus is a potential biological control agent for Liriomyza leafminers on vegetable and ornamental plants. Opius dissitus was found to be the most abundant parasitoid (63% of all the parasitoids) of L. trifolii on snap bean crops in south Florida, and the seasonal density of O. dissitus had a similar pattern with L. trifolii (unpublished data Li et al.). Opius dissitus was also found to be one of the major hymenopteran parasitoids of Liriomyza leafminer on tomato crops (Schuster and Wharton 1993). Petitt (2004) reported that O. dissitus was reared and released to control Liriomyza leafminers at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Selected References

Bordat D. 1995a. "Morphometric, biological and behavioral differences between (Hym., Eulophidae) and (Hym., Braconidae) parasitoids of (Dipt., Agromyzidae)." Journal of Applied Entomology 119: 423–427.

Bordat D. 1995b. "Influence of temperature on (Hym., Braconidae), a parasitoid of (Dipt: Agromyzidae)." Entomophaga 40: 119–124.

Neuenschwander P. 1987. "Introduction of exotic parasitic wasps for the control of (Diptera: Agromyzidae) in Senegal." Tropical Pest Management 33: 290–297.

Petcharat J. 2002. "Larval parasitoids of agromyzid leafminer genus in the southern Thailand: species and their host plants." Songklanakarin Journal of Scientific Technology 24: 467–472.

Petitt LF. 2004. "Rearing and release of (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) for biological control of leafminers at the Walt Disney World Resort. Symposium: Advances In Management For Agromyzid Leaf Miners." Entomological Sociery of America Annual Meeting and Exhibition.

Schuster DJ, Wharton RA. 1993. "Hymenopterous parasitoids of leaf-mining spp. (Diptera: Agromyzidae) on tomato in Florida." Environmental Entomology 22: 1188–1191.

Stegmaier CE. 1972. "Parasitic Hymenoptera bred from the family Agromyzidae (Diptera) with special reference to south Florida." Florida Entomologist 55: 273–282.



This document is EENY 501, one of a series of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 2011. Reviewed August 2018. Visit the EDIS website at This document is also available on the Featured Creatures website at


Jian Li; Dakshina Seal; and Gary Leibee; Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL 33850.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.