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Miriam Frida Karlsson

I am researcher with interest in management of invasive and native insect pest species in crop production (tropical and temperate) with the use of Integrated Pest Management and Biological Control. My aim is to identify and assess natural enemies i.e. predators and parasitoids, of their capacity to efficiently regulate the pest and in parallel reduce the risks associated with the augmentation of biological control agents.


My research interest is to identify the constituents in the agroecosystem and their interactions and based on that knowledge be able to develop methods to manage production system to optimize the ecosystem services, the producers’ livelihood, and the production of our food. Most of my research experience is until now obtained through studies of tropical agricultural systems.


The current project aims at identify natural enemies with pest suppression functions for the main pest Lepidoptera in tomato, in Benin and Tanzania. Studies of the parasitoid-pest-host plant system can reveal multiple interaction that define the population presence and abundance and hence the importance of the arthropod species as pests and Biological Control Agents. Arthropods from field-grown tomato are identified morphologically and molecularly and gut content identification will confirm the main predatory species of the target pests. The work is done in collaboration with IITA and World Vegetable Centre. 

Previous studies were related to Tephritidae fruit fly guilds and their natural enemies in wild and cultivated host plants. We have tried to elucidate the ecology of the species and the interaction between native and exotic fruit flies and their parasitoids in order to optimize the control of fruit flies by classical Biological Control and Conservation Biological Control. We have developed understanding of certain fruit-producing systems (e.g. watermelon), measuring fruit infestation, parasitism, agroecological factors (herb and tree coverage, rainfall, agricultural use, etc.), competition between parasitoid and fruit fly species, and identified fruit fly and parasitoid species morphologically and molecularly. We try to answer questions such as; How do we influence the agroecological factors to increase parasitism? How does Interspecific competition affect the pest and parasitoid populations? During the project, I was employed by SLU, being a visiting scientist at IITA in Benin.

Working with the problem of invasive Tephritidae species in fruit production in Southern Ethiopia, we used participatory action research (PAR) to generate knowledge and promote change in pest management methods. By testing the adoption of research findings in the context of farmers’ production conditions, we aimed at adapting suitable pest management strategies and to study how the different stakeholders’ could take part to solve insect pest problem. Individual interviews, group discussions, farmer-fields experiments, observations, and triangulations, were conducted to collect data and gain empirical knowledge about the situation for farmers and extensionists. The project was conducted together with Arbaminch plant health clinic and Addis Ababa University.


PhD Plant Protection Ecology, Chemical Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in collaboration with Corpoica (Colombian Corporation for Agricultural Research), Colombia. Title: Role of semiochemicals in host finding, oviposition and sexual communication in Guatemalan potato moth Tecia solanivora.  

MSc Agriculture with a major in Biology, specialization Soil / Plant Science. Title: Control de mosca blanca Aleurotrachelus socialis en yuca Manihot esculenta - insecticidas con efecto físico - mortalidad y técnicas de aplicación


I like to supervise students in their research work and I have supervised students from SLU, Addis Ababa University, University of Abomey-Calavi and University of Parakou.

If you as a SLU student would like to e.g. conduct your BSc or MSc thesis in Benin, Tanzania, Colombia or Kenya, you are welcome to contact me and we can arrange somehing either through Minor Field Study (MFS) funding, or through our Linneaus-Palme exchange we have with Embo University. 

Selected publications

Monsia A., Mègnigbèto G.S.B., Gnanvossou D, Karlsson M.F. 2019. Effect of fruit and host fly species on the associative learning by Fopius arisanus, Bulletin of Entomological Research, doi:10.1017/S0007485319000038

Karlsson M.K., Rachidatou S, Mama Sambo S., Zannou A.J. Goergen G. 2018. First report of Tuta absoluta Meyrick (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in the Republic of Benin. BioInvasions Records 7(4): 463–468 doi: 10.3391/bir.2018.7.4.19

Karlsson M.F., de Souza E.O., Ayelo P.M., Zannou A.J., Mègnigbèto G.S.B., Bokonon-Ganta AH. 2018. Interspecific competition between egg parasitoids: Native Fopius caudatus and exotic Fopius arisanus, in Ceratitis cosyra. Biological Control 117: 172–181. doi:10.1016/j.biocontrol.2017.11.010.

Dejene B.T., Teklemariam H., Larsson Herrera S., Bengtsson M., Karlsson M.F., Lemmen-Lechelt J.K., Dekker T. 2018. Detection of volatile constituents from food lures by tephritid fruit flies. Insects, 9, 119; doi:10.3390/insects9030119.

Karlsson M.F., Proffit M., Birgersson G. 2017 Host-plant location by the Guatemalan potato moth Tecia solanivora is assisted by floral volatiles Chemoecology 27(5): 187-198. doi 10.1007/s00049-017-0244-2.

Ayelo P.M., Sinzogan A.A., Bokonon-Ganta A.H., Karlsson M.F. 2017. Host species and vegetable fruit suitability and preference by the parasitoid wasp Fopius arisanus. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 163(1): 70-81. 1–12. doi: 10.1111/eea.12561.

Dejene BT., Karlsson M.F., Hillbur Y., Seyoum E., Dekker T. 2014. Identification of host blends that attract the African invasive fruit fly, Bactrocera invadens. Journal of Chemical Ecology 40: 966-976. doi: 10.1007/s10886-014-0501-6.

Karlsson M.F., Birgersson G., Witzgall P., Stevens Lekfeld J.D., Punyasiri N., Bengtsson M. 2013. Guatemalan potato moth Tecia solanivora distinguish odour profiles from qualitatively different potatoes Solanum tuberosum L. Journal of Phytochemistry 85, 72-81.

Clavijo Mc Cormick, Karlsson, M.F., A., Bosa Ochoa, C.F., Proffit, M., Zuluaga, M.V., Cotez Prado, A.M., Witzgall, P. 2011. Mating disruption of guatemalan potato moth Tecia solanivora by attractive and non-attractive pheromone blends. Journal of Chemical Ecology 38: 63-70. doi 10.1007/s10886-011-0051-0.

Bosa C.F., Clavijo Mc Cormick A., Karlsson M.F., Cotes Prado A.M., Witzgall P. 2011. Respuesta de Tecia solanivora (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) a compuestos volátiles de papa, Solanum tuberosum. Revista Colombiana de Entomología 37(1): 1-7.

Karlsson M.F., Birgersson G, Cotes A.M, Bosa C.F, Bengtsson M., Witzgall P. 2009. Plant odor analysis of potato: response of Guatemalan moth to above- and belowground potato volatiles. Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry 57: 5903-5909.