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CAB Review

The predatory stinkbug Podisus nigrispinus: biology, ecology and augmentative releases for lepidoperan larval control in Eucalyptus forests in Brazil.

Abstract

Podisus nigrispinus feeds primarily on insect larvae. It has been reared and released in Brazil to control lepidopterous larvae, particularly defoliators of Eucalyptus trees, but inoculative releases and conservation of natural populations in other crops have also been attempted. Aspects favouring the use of P. nigrispinus as a biocontrol agent include: (i) cost-effective mass-rearing capabilities with alternative prey or artificial diets; (ii) compatibility of the predator with some insecticides and forest production practices; (iii) natural occurrence in diverse habitats associated with lepidopteran outbreaks. The biology and ecology of P. nigrispinus and its mass production and use to control defoliating lepidopteran larvae in Eucalyptus plantations are discussed, and research needs to expand its use in pest management are outlined.