Determination and Identification of Entomophagous Insects and Insect Pathogens


Several taxonomists in Europe, specialised in different groups of insect parasitoids and predators, cooperate in the identification service of reared specimens which are sent to the commission.

Hannes BAUR: Entomophagous insects
Regina KLEESPIES: Insect pathogens


The commission provides a free service for IOBC-WPRS members, working with pest species, their natural enemies, and insect pathogens, who need help in identification of specimens from Europe and the near East.


The commission compiles the data on those species, which have been reared from definite hosts during a research project and which could be determined to species level. These results are published irregularly within the IOBCwprs Bulletin:

Free service for IOBC-WPRS members: Support in identification of enthomophagous insects and insect pathogens

The aim of the commission “Identification of entomophagous insects and insect pathogens” is to support researchers who have to deal with unknown parasitoids, predators, or pathogens from Europe and the Near East. Single specimens and smaller samples can be send to Hannes BAUR (entomophagous insects) or Regina KLEESPIES (insect pathogens) who are either identifying specimens themselves or organize identification by specialists. The idea is to provide some initial help with identification of some specimens, which might serve as a reference in the case of larger samples. It should be clear that specialists cannot deal with larger series of specimens. The service is free for members of the IOBC-WPRS. A list of identifications is published occasionally in the IOBC-WPRS Bulletin, e.g. IOBC-WPRS Bulletin 28 (11) 2005, 71 pp.

Researcher sending specimens of entomophagous insects for identification should be aware that identification may not always be successful. Especially many groups of parasitic wasps are taxonomically poorly known, so that for instance new species might be discovered during an otherwise strictly applied project. In the course of my work for the IOBC I have encountered several times a situation, where some applied investigations resulted in a taxonomic study. Two cases are detailed in the following.

The first case occurred during a survey of parasitoids (of genera Mesopolobus and Trichomalus, Hymenoptera, Pteromalidae), which were considered for release against the cabbage seedpod weevil Ceutorhynchus obstrictus Marsham in North America (Gibson et al. 2005). One of the most common species, Mesopolobus morys (Walker), then proved to consist of a complex of two cryptic species, which could only be disentangled in a separate taxonomic study (Baur et al. 2007).

Fig. 1. Anisopteromalus calandrae (A) and its sibling species, Anisopteromalus quinarius (B), females.

The second case concerns Anisopteromalus calandrae (Howard) (Pteromalidae, see Fig. 1A), an important parasitoid of pests of stored products like cereals, e.g., the granary weevil Sitophilus granarius (Linnaeus) or the drugstore beetle Stegobium paniceum (Linnaeus). For a long time, A. calandrae has been considered as one of the major antagonists of these pest species and has also been used in biological control. However,  the karyotypic investigation of Gokhman et al. (1998) has then revealed that two species were hidden under the same name. The second species was described only recently as A. quinarius Gokhman & Baur (Fig. 1B) by Baur et al. (2014). The discovery of this new species is of course of significance for any biological control project, as the two species differ strongly in their host preferences: A. calandraeprefers Sitophilus while A. quinarius naturally occurs on Stegobium. Both species can also be reared on the alternate host, but only at the cost of fecundity and some other fitness parameters.

These two examples should make it clear that even in ordinary biocontrol projects the discovery of new, cryptic species is nothing very uncommon. It therefore seems sensible to include in the planning also some resources for taxonomic work, at least when the identification of a parasitoid is considered crucial for the success of a study. In any case, it is certainly wise to incorporate taxonomic expertise already at the beginning of a project, not only at the end.

Baur H, Kranz-Baltensperger Y, Cruaud A, Rasplus J-Y, Timokhov A V., Gokhman VE (2014) Morphometric analysis and taxonomic revision of Anisopteromalus Ruschka (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Pteromalidae) – an integrative approach. Systematic Entomology 39: 601–709.

Baur H, Muller FJ, Gibson GAP, Mason PG, Kuhlmann U (2007)
A review of the species of Mesopolobus (Chalcidoidea: Pteromalidae) associated with Ceutorhynchus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) host-species of European origin. Bulletin of Entomological Research 97: 387–397.

Gibson GAP, Baur H, Ulmer B, Dosdall L, Muller F (2005)
On the misidentification of chalcid (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) parasitoids of the cabbage seedpod weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in North America. The Canadian Entomologist 137: 381–403.

Gokhman VE, Timokhov A V, Fedina TY (1998)
First evidence for sibling species in Anisopteromalus calandrae (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae). Russian Entomological Journal 7: 157–162.


First IOBC-WPRS PhD Symposium on Biological Control of arthropod pests and plant diseases, 22 to 25 April 2024 - IRTA, Cabrils, Barcelona, Spain: Group picture.


This commission consists of 2 members: Sophie Le Hesran (convenor) and Bruno Gobin (liaison). They both do research in the field of biological pest control in ornamental and vegetable crops, in the Netherlands and Belgium respectively.


22-25 April 2024: The first IOBC PhD Symposium will take place at IRTA (Cabrils, Spain). This event will gather PhD students who work on Biological Control of Arthropod Pests and Plant Diseases.
Our objective is to bring together 20 PhD students from different countries who work on biological control so that they have the opportunity to share their research, exchange ideas with other PhD students and experienced researchers and professionals, and expand their international network in the field of biological control.


IP & Biocontrol in North-African Countries

Structure and Members

The commission on “Integrated Production, Protection and Biocontrol in North African Countries” has been officially established by the IOBC-WPRS Council on September 4, 2010. The commission has 5 members from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia:

  • Abdelkrim SI BACHIR, Univ. Batna 2, (Batna, Algeria)
  • Ahmed H. EL-HENEIDY, Plant Protection Research Institute (Giza, Egypt)
  • Esam ELGHADi,  Biotechnology Research Center (Tripoli, Libya)
  • Olfa EZZINE, National Research Institute of Rural Engineering, (Tunis, Tunisia)
  • Elaini RACHID, IPM Department Manager (Agadir, Morocco)

Download Brochure (pdf) “Commission for IP & Biocontrol in North-African countries”, prepared by Mohammed Besri, Commission Convenor, 2011


The main tasks of the commission are:

  • Identify in each country the main agricultural universities, research institutions, associations/societies that are involved in agriculture and sustainable plant protection
  • Establish a network among North African countries to promote biocontrol, IPM and IP in the region
  • Contact potential stakeholders (such as government bodies, research institutes, commercial organizations and industries related to plant protection, production and exports) and make them familiar with the major activities and results of IOBC-WPRS.
  • Identify special crop protection problems in North African countries to assist the region to develop and implement sustainable solutions
  • Organise regional workshops on plant protection, in collaboration with IOBC working and study groups


The main actions to undertake during the period 2022-2023 are:

  • Identify the commission members
  • Editing a Brochure introducing the commission “Integrated production, Protection and Biological control for North Africa”
  • Prepare and Insert information in the IOBC-WPRS website
  • Prepare a survey form to be sent to the commission members and synthesis of the survey form
  • Agreement on an activity program
  • Meeting of the commission


The results of the commissions activities are published in bulletins:

First International Congress on Biological and Integrated Control in Algeria (CILBIA1), jointly organized by the University of Batna (Algeria), the Scientific Association First International Congress on Biological and Integrated Control in Algeria (CILBIA1), jointly organized by the University of Batna (Algeria), the Scientific Association “Biology, Biodiversity and Sustainability” (BBD, Algeria) and the IOBC-WPRS Commission for “IP & Biocontrol in North-African Countries”, 04.-06.02.2019 in Batna, Algeria.

Regional Symposium on the management of fruit flies in Near East countries, 06.-08.11.2012, Hammamet, Tunisia. Symposium organized jointly by FAO, FAO-IAEA, NEPPO, IOBC North Africa Commission, the GD Plant Protection in Tunisia and the Tunisian Association of Plant Protection.

EPPO/IOBC/FAO/NEPPO Joint International Symposium on management of Tuta absoluta, held in Agadir, Morocco, 2011-11-16/18

The proceedings have been published in the EPPO bulletin 42,2,203-343, 2012.

Harmonisation of Invertebrate Biological Control Agents (CHIBCA)

History and Structure

The Commission on the Harmonisation of Invertebrate Biological Control Agents (CHIBCA) was first established in 2003 with Franz Bigler as Convenor. He was succeeded by Jeff Bale (2006-2014) and by Josep A. Jaques (2014-). The Commission had 6 members originally (F. Bigler, Claude Alabouvette, Horst Bathon, Sylvia Blümel, Josep A. Jaques, and Joop C. van Lenteren) but also invited other scientists to attend meetings. Following the end of the EU-funded REBECA project in 2007 (see activities), CHIBCA was ‘reactivated’ with a primary role of representing IOBC in a joint panel on Biological Control Agents (BCA) with EPPO to review and update the ‘Positive List’ of ‘safe’ biological control agents, and to take on other activities as appropriate. Most of the scientists who served as IOBC-WPRS members in the joint EPPO/IOBC panel on BCA were also nominated by their countries as representatives.
At present five colleagues in addition to convenor and liaison-officer are representing both their country and IOBC-WPRS in the panel (Jana Collatz, Patrick De Clercq, Annette Herz, Antoon Loomans and Marek Tomalak).


In winter 2003, Franz Bigler was contacted by the EU-DG Research and a meeting was held in early 2004 to discuss the idea of launching a policy support activity on the harmonized regulation of invertebrate biocontrol agents. The Commission first met in Zurich, Switzerland in July 2004 and its activities were suspended during the REBECA project. Based on a recommendation from REBECA, EPPO and IOBC agreed to establish a joint panel ( which met for the first time in March 2008 in Wageningen. Since then, the panel has met every year.

Participants at the joint EPPO/IOBC panel on BCA in Engelberg (Switzerland), March 2009:

Participants at the joint EPPO/IOBC panel on BCA in Engelberg (Switzerland), March 2009

Participants at the joint EPPO/IOBC panel on BCA in Moscow (Russia), October 2017:

Contribution to EC-IBCA Study 2021/2022
In June 2021, the EU Council requested the EU Commission – DG SANTE to carry out a survey of the current situation regarding invertebrate biological control agents (IBCAs) for use in plant health and plant protection (Council Decision (EU) 2021/1102) in the EU. The objective of this study was to provide an overview of the current status on the introduction, production, evaluation, marketing and use of IBCAs within the territory of the EU, including an overview of the existing regulations in each Member State and an analysis of the potential for further development of IBCAs. The survey was carried out in 2022 and IOBC-WPRS was asked to participate in it as a stakeholder. The results of the survey have been made available by the EU  Commission and can be accessed via their website at:


As a result of the CHIBCA and REBECA activities, collaboration between EPPO and IOBC-WPRS was established. The IOBC CHIBCA members have contributed effectively to the joint panel and the following achievements have been made:

CHIBCA and the safety of biological control. General Assembly 2017, Riva del Garda, Italy.
CHIBCA and the safety of biological control. General Assembly 2017, Riva del Garda, Italy.

Guidelines for Integrated Production

Structure and Members

The Commission consists of 5 members, experts in IP and IPM involved in research, practice and policy. The commission works closely together with the crop specific IOBC-WPRS Working Groups.


Corresponding Members

Former Convenors

  • F. Wijnands (2014-2019)
  • C. Malavolta (2009-2013)
  • J. Avilla (2002-2008)
  • E.F. Boller (1996-2001)
  • A. El Titi (1991 – 1995)


The Commission regularly updates IP guidelines (General Technical & Crop Specific Guidelines for Integrated Production) in close collaboration with the WPRS working groups or ad hoc expert panels convened by the Commission. The Commission also benchmarks IP guidelines or similar efforts on request of relevant organisations.


All publications and information relevant to Integrated Production are available in the section IP Tools.
The concepts, principles and general technical guidelines for Integrated Production were first published in 1993 in the major languages of the WPRS region and were updated in 1999 and 2004. They serve as a basic document as to concepts and standards. Both “IP principles and general technical guidelines for Integrated Production” and “IP Crop specific guidelines” have been updated and published in 2017. In recent years, the Commission provided EU organisations and NGOs with technical expertise on IP concepts and their practical implementation.


The history of Integrated Production in Europe and of the Commission’s activities has been described in the IOBC-WPRS publication Integrated Production in Europe: 20 years after the declaration of Ovrannaz. The Commission can look back on a tradition and leadership in Integrated Production starting in 1976 by the Declaration of Ovrannaz. In 1977 the General Assembly of IOBC-WPRS decided to establish the “Commission pour la Valorisation de la Production Intégrée” with M. Baggiolini (Switzerland) as first president. IOBC established in 1978 a second unit (“Comité international pour la valorisation des productions intégrées”) that handled under the direction of J. Thiault (France) the first IOBC endorsements that led to recognition of 2 fruit growers’ organisations (GALTI in Switzerland and COVAPI in France) in the late 1970s. The Commission continued its activities especially in the field of pome fruit production until 1987 with the following presidents: J.P. Bassino (France) 1981-1984 and A. Stäubli (Switzerland) 1984-1987. The Commission was re-activated by IOBC in 1990 as “Commission on IP-Guidelines and Endorsement” with a new mandate (see objectives) and was chaired by A. El Titi (1991 – 1995), E.F. Boller (1996-2001), J. Avilla (2002-2008), C. Malavolta (2009-2013), F. Wijnands (2014-2019) and C. Malavolta (since 2019). Four growers IP-associations were endorsed in the past and one in USA sice 2001 is still endorsed. At present the Commission have the mandate of benchmark regional or national IP Gls and not the entire IP system or the organisation applying for benchmark.


The IOBC-WPRS Commission “IP Guidelines” benchmarks IP guidelines, on request, leading to advices for adaptation. When the guidelines sufficiently comply with the IP guidelines (both general and crop specific) IOBC-WPRS permits to use of the declaration “Produced under IOBC-WPRS IP endorsed guidelines” or to simply state the IP guidelines are endorsed by IOBC-WPRS or equivalent sentences. IOBC-WPRS does not endorse nor certify individual farmers practicing IP, but their organizations.



Annette HERZ: Coordination of publishing activities, print, dispatch and archive of Bulletins.

Ute KOCH: Final editorial work on articles for Bulletins submitted by the Editor(s).


The following publications are produced at regular intervals by the Commission itself or under its supervision:

IOBC-WPRS Bulletins
The IOBC-WPRS Bulletins are a well established series of relatively fast issued working papers in a systematic format. They comprise proceedings of meetings of Working and Study Groups, reports of activities of the Council or Commissions, and proceedings of the WPRS General Assembly. The Bulletins appear 7 – 15 times per year.

IOBC-WPRS Brochures
The brochures contain guidelines defining methodologies useful for the daily practice in Biocontrol and IPM (e.g. visual survey in orchards, monitoring methods, insect pheromone list, guidelines to evaluate side-effects of pesticides to non-target organisms).


The IOBC-WPRS publications are available (as eletronic documents) in the Online Shop.

Overview of IOBC-WPRS Publications 1968 – 2010
Compiled by Horst Bathon. ISBN 978-92-9067-235-7 [40 pp.], see IOBC-WPRS Bulletin Vol. 61, 2010

The following IOBC-WPRS Bulletins have been published:

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