Biological characteristics of the poinsettia strain of Bemisia tabaci Gennadius were investigated on poinsettia by laboratory experiments at five temperatures (range: 16°C-28°C). In addition, the effect of rearing B. tabaci on the two plant species, Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) (Solanaceae) and Euphorbia pulcherrima (Euphorbiaceae) (poinsettia) was investigated. The temperature-dependencies were established for the developmental time for eggs and egg-to-adult phase, juvenile mortality, adult female life-span, pre-oviposition period, age-specific fecundity, and sex-ratio. The lower temperature thresholds for egg-development, development from egg to adult and for ovipositional adults were estimated as well as the lower temperature threshold for oviposition. The thresholds were 12°C, 14°C, 8°C and 14°C, respectively. Egg-development required 126 day-degrees and the entire development into adults 327 day-degrees. Mortality was highest at 16°C, being 19.3% in the egg-stage and 95% from egg to adult. The pre-oviposition period and the adult life-span were 40 and 360 day-degrees. The age-specific fecundity of B. tabaci was described by a temperature-dependent model. The maximum daily fecundity rate was attained after 60 and 125 day-degrees for B. tabaci reared on tobacco and poinsettia, respectively. The fecundity was highest for B. tabaci reared on poinsettia. The sex-ratio was in favour of females at and above 19°C and increased with temperature. Estimates of the net reproductive rate, the intrinsic rate of increase, the finite rate of increase, the mean generation time and the doubling time were obtained. A positive linear relationship was found between r m and temperature, the values ranging from 0.0012 at 16°C to 0.1263 at 28°C.
Plants infested with a single herbivore species can attract natural enemies through the emission of herbivoreinduced plant volatiles (HIPVs). However, under natural conditions plants are often attacked by more than one herbivore species. We investigated the olfactory response of a generalist predators Macrolophus caliginosus to pepper infested with two-spotted spider mites, Tetranychus urticae, or green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, vs. plants infested with both herbivore species in a Y-tube olfactometer set up. In addition, the constituents of volatile blends from plants exposed to multiple or single herbivory were identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The mirid bugs showed a stronger response to volatiles emitted from plants simultaneously infested with spider mites and aphids than to those emitted from plants infested by just one herbivore, irrespective of the species. Combined with results from previous studies under similar conditions we infer that this was a reaction to herbivore induced plant volatiles. The GC-MS analysis showed that single herbivory induced the release of 22 additional compounds as compared with the volatiles emitted from clean plants. Quantitative analyses revealed that the amount of volatile blends emitted from pepper infested by both herbivores was significantly higher than that from pepper infested by a single herbivore. Moreover, two unique substances were tentatively identified (with a probability of 94% and 91%, respectively) in volatiles emitted by multiple herbivory damaged plants: a-zingiberene and dodecyl acetate.
Adult longevity, developmental time and juvenile mortality of Encarsia formosa Gahan (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) parasitizing the Poinsettia‐strain of Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) on Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd.) were investigated in laboratory experiments at three temperatures: 16 °C, 22 °C and 28 °C. Furthermore, the parasitoid's preference for different larval stages of the whitefly was determined at 24.5 °C. The lifespan of E. formosa decreased with temperature from one month at 16 °C to nine days at 28 °C. A lower temperature threshold of 11 °C for adult development was found. The development of juvenile parasitoids in B. tabaci lasted more than two months at the lowest temperature, but was only 14 days when temperature was 28 °C. The lower temperature threshold for immature development was 13.3 °C, yielding an average of 207 day‐degrees for the completion of development into adults. Juvenile mortality was high, varying from about 50% at 16 °C to about 30% at 22 °C and 28 °C. E. formosa preferred to oviposit in the 4th instar and prepupal stages of B. tabaci followed by the 2nd and 3rd instars. The preference for the pupal stage was low. The parasitoid used all instars of the whitefly for hostfeeding, with no apparent differences between the stages. The average duration of the oviposition posture was four minutes. Demographic parameters were calculated from life tables constructed from the data. The intrinsic rate of increase (rm) and the net reproductive rate (R0) increased with temperature from 0.0279 day−1 at 16 °C to 0.2388 day−1 at 28 °C and from about 12 at 16 °C to about 66 at 28 °C, respectively.
The life table characteristics of the polyphagous mirid Macrolophus caliginosus Wagner (Heteroptera: Miridae) preying on various stages of Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae) with tomato as host plant were described at 22 °C. The following average parameters were obtained: Female longevity: 28.7 days; fecundity: 0.7 eggs/female/day; egg mortality: 2.6%; pre‐oviposition period: 5.5 days; oviposition period: 18.1 days; post‐oviposition period: 3.2 days; juvenile development time: 26.8 days; juvenile mortality: 34.9%; and sex ratio (♀/(♀+♂)) 0.46. Life table parameters were estimated as net reproduction rate (R0): 6.15; intrinsic rate of increase (rm): 0.031 day−1; finite rate of increase (≤): 1.032; mean generation time (Tc): 58.17 days; and doubling time (T2) 22.2 days. The parameters obtained were in accordance with those reported for M. caliginosus fed on another mite species (T. turkestani Ugarov & Nikolski (Acari: Tetranychidae)). However, compared to the performance of M. caliginosus fed on common glasshouse insect pests, a diet consisting of only mites appeared to be inferior. However, being a voracious predator, M. caliginosus may be a valuable addition to existing methods of mite control.
Laboratory experiments were performed with adult female Macrolophus caliginosus Wagner (Heteroptera: Miridae) at 22°C on bean plants to determine the functional response towards whiteflies, as well as the preference and switching capacity between the two prey species: whiteflies and spider mites. Predation of females presented with first instars of Trialeurodes vaporariorum Westwood (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) was of a Type III functional response. The observed maximum predation was approximately 75 first instars at high prey densities within a 24‐h period. The preference of M. caliginosus females between eggs of T. vaporariorum and Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acarina: Tetranychidae) changed with the ratio of offered prey. The preference for T. vaporariorum eggs increased non‐linearly with increasing proportions of this prey type. The average maximum predation of whitefly and spider mite eggs were approximately 166 and 111 eggs per day, respectively, at the highest ratio of the two preys. The proportion of M. caliginosus females found on the test plants at the end of the experiment increased with prey density suggesting that this mirid spends more time in areas with high prey density. Macrolophus caliginosus females are voracious predators of eggs and first instars of T. vaporariorum as well as of spider mite eggs and may thus be a valuable addition to existing methods of biological control of T. vaporariorum and T. urticae.
The biology of Hypoaspis miles Berlese (Acarina: Hypoaspidae) fed on mushroom sciarid larvae (Lycoriella solani Winnertz) (Diptera: Lycoriidae) and mould mites (Tyrophagus putrescentiae Schrank) (Acari: Acaridae), was investigated by laboratory experiments at 20 °C, 75% r.h. and LD16:D8 hours. H. miles had a significantly shorter development time and a significantly lower juvenile mortality when fed on sciarid larvae than on mould mites, the development time being 14.5 days and the mortality 3.5% on the former prey. The preoviposition and postoviposition periods of H. miles were not uninfluenced by the prey species and were 5–9 and 32–37 days, respectively. Oviposition periods of 53.2 and 68.5 days and female longevities of 82 and 109.6 days were observed on diets of sciarid larvae and mould mites, respectively. Male longevity (168–219 days) was uninfluenced by the prey species. The egg production of H. miles on sciarid larvae was estimated to be 44.4 ± 4.33 eggs per female, as compared to 22.43 ± 1.79 eggs per female on mould mites. The sex‐ratio of the offspring was significantly influenced by the prey species, the ratios (♀/(♀+♂)) being 0.66 on sciarid larvae and 0.54 on mould mites. The net reproductive rate (R0) for H. miles fed on sciarid larvae was approximately 27 which was three times higher than for mites feeding on mould mites. The innate capacity of increase (rm) was highest (0.0747 day−1) when sciarid larvae served as food, giving a doubling time of 9.3 days as compared to 12.8 days on mould mites. The generation times were 44.28 on sciarid larvae and 40.67 days on mould mites. The daily food consumption rate of juvenile and adult H. miles was 0.24 and 0.86 sciarid larvae and 10.8 and 21.7 mould mites, respectively. In terms of weight consumed, however, the consumption of sciarid larvae was 2–3.5 times the weight of mould mites. The ratio of females to males influenced the oviposition period and egg production of H. miles, with virgin females laying fewer eggs over a longer period of time as compared with females with access to males. The egg production in relation to the sex‐ratio was described by models predicting a maximum number of eggs per female of 22.3 to be attained at a sex ratio of 0.69 (♀/(♀+♂)) and a maximum daily number of eggs per female of 0.33 to be attained at a sex ratio of 0.37 (♀/(♀+♂)).
The performance of herbivores, natural enemies and their interactions may be affected directly or indirectly by host plant traits, e.g. the physical plant characteristics may influence the search pattern and the functional response of predators. We studied the functional response of adult females of the predatory mite Neoseiulus cucumeris to first instar larvae of Thrips tabaci on three host plants (sweet pepper, eggplant and cucumber). The 24-h leaf disc experiments conducted at 25 ± 1°C, 60 ± 10% relative humidity and 16 : 8 h (light : dark) showed that N. cucumeris exhibited a type II functional response on all host plants. The following search rates and handling times were estimated from fitting the data to the disc equation 0.043/h and 1.798 h (cucumber); 0.048/h and 1.030 h (sweet pepper) and 0.0441/h and 2.294 h (eggplant) giving an estimated maximum predation of 13.35, 23.31 and 10.46 larvae per day respectively. The data from sweet pepper could also be described by the random predator equation (a¢: 0.051/h; T h : 0.472 h). The host plant species interacted significantly with prey density on the functional response of N. cucumeris with the relative differences in the number of thrips eaten on each host plant increasing with density. It is suggested that it is mainly the difference in trichome density between the three host plants that is responsible for the observed differences in the functional response of N. cucumeris. These results emphasize the importance of the host plant characteristics on the performance of natural enemies and for optimizing their use in biological control of pests.
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