First predation record of Canthecona furcellata (Wolff.) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on spinning stage silkworm Antheraea mylitta (Drury).
A new scientific survey elucidates the preferred attack of stink bug Canthecona furcellata (Wolff.) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the spinning stage of the tropical tasar silkworm, Antheraea mylitta (Drury) (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae). The silkworm A. mylitta produces an excellent quality of wild silk; however, due to predation by C. furcellata, tasar silk production is reduced. The bug C. furcellata is the most invasive larval predator of A. mylitta and predation is high during early instars as well as the molting stage of the larvae. However, for the first time it is reported that the spinning stage is also preferable for attack by the stink bug. Both the nymphs and adults of C. furcellata attack the spinning silkworm; moreover, stink bug attack is observed in groups under field conditions. It is postulated that feeding preference is due to the concealed, non-movable and less defensive stage of the tasar larvae during spinning. The predation of C. furcellata includes its approach on target larva of the tasar silkworm during spinning, where it inserts the proboscis inside the larval skin through the moist silk network of newly forming or formed cocoon. Most of the spinning larvae die from the attack and the normal seed cocoon fails to form. The mechano- and chemoreceptors, present on the antenna and proboscis of C. furcellata, play an important role in prey locating and the feeding mechanism. The life cycle of C. furcellata is also discussed in the present study.