Comparing traditional methods of test species selection with the PRONTI tool for host-range testing of Eadya daenerys (Braconidae)
A computer-based tool (PRONTI; Priority Ranking Of Non-Target Invertebrates) has been developed to assist the selection of invertebrate species for risk-assessment testing with entomophagous biological control agents (BCAs). PRONTI was used to produce a prioritised list of taxa for host-range testing with the braconid parasitoid Eadya daenerys, a potential BCA for the eucalypt pest, Paropsis charybdis. The resulting list was compared with a list developed using traditional species selection methods. Seven of the nine species on the traditional list were in the PRONTI top 20. The remaining two species (Agasicles hygrophila and Cassida rubiginosa) may not have been selected if the PRONTI tool had been used. These two species were on the traditional list because they are in the same family as the target and are considered valuable BCAs. Alternative BCAs were prioritised by PRONTI. The other 13 taxa prioritised by PRONTI were not on the traditional list: the taxa are little-known natives in the target subfamily or sister subfamily but larvae are presumed to be root-feeders, whereas target larvae are leaf-feeders. PRONTI can support the traditional approach by providing transparent evidence to support the selection (or rejection) of non-target species for host-range testing.