Identification of potential natural enemies of the pea leaf weevil, Sitona lineatus L. in western Canada.
Sitona lineatus L., the pea leaf weevil, is an invasive pest of Pisum sativum L. (field pea) that has recently become established in Alberta, Canada. Adults consume seedling foliage and larvae feed on Rhizobium root nodules thereby reducing nitrogen fixation; both life stages can reduce yield. Eggs and adults are vulnerable to predators and parasitoids. In 2009, a series of experiments was undertaken to identify potential indigenous natural enemies of S. lineatus in southern Alberta. In three test arenas, eggs were exposed to starved ground beetles in no-choice tests for 48 h. Egg debris was observed when eggs were exposed to Bembidion quadrimaculatum L., Microlestes linearis (LeConte), Bembidion rupicola (Kirby), Bembidion timidum (LeConte), Poecilus scitulus LeConte, and staphylinid beetles. Of the two most abundant carabid species, the smaller B. quadrimaculatum consistently removed significantly more eggs (94.6%) than the larger Pterostichus melanarius (17.4%). Similar results were observed in Petri dish and egg card tests. No egg debris was observed in tests with Pt. melanarius. Presence of the larger beetle, Pt. melanarius, resulted in a lower rate of egg removal by the smaller B. quadrimaculatum relative to the rates observed for B. quadrimaculatum alone. Intraguild predation of B. quadrimaculatum by Pt. melanarius was observed in 47% of tests. These results suggest that B. quadrimaculatum is a potential predator of S. lineatus eggs in field pea agroecosystems and should be considered for use in conservation biological control and integrated pest management programs.