Numerical response of ladybird beetles (Col., Coccinellidae) to aphid prey (Hom., Aphididae) in a field bean in north-east India.
Two predaceous species of Coccinellidae, Menochilus sexmaculatus [Cheilomenes sexmaculata] and Coccinella transversalis, occurred abundantly in bean crops (Vigna catjang) infested with the aphid Aphis craccivora in north-east India. The number of eggs and adults of the two coccinellids increased in response to the increase in the population of aphid prey. Reproductive numerical responses were found to be synchronous to prey density whereas aggregative numerical responses appeared asynchronous in the later part of the aphid cycle on beans. C. sexmaculata oviposited smaller clusters of eggs at lower density of aphids than C. transversalis which laid larger clusters and showed greater numerical response at higher densities of aphids. Within a species cluster the size of the eggs seems to be directly related to aphid density. The two coccinellid species of this study seem to be efficient predators of A. craccivora in terms of their reproductive and aggregative numerical responses.