Acceptability of Drosophila suzukii as prey for common predators occurring in cherries and berries.
The invasive cherry vinegar fly, Drosophila suzukii, has been identified in Europe as a destructive fruit pest since its arrival in 2008. In the present laboratory study, three predatory insects (Orius majusculus, Chrysoperla carnea, and Forficula auricularia) naturally occurring on fruit crops in Europe were investigated for their ability to attack and feed on D. suzukii within and outside fruits. The predators were provided with various D. suzukii life stages (eggs, larvae, pupae or adults) exposed or within infested cherries. The anthocorid bug O. majusculus fed on eggs and larvae, but was not able to attack pupae. Larvae of the lacewing C. carnea preyed upon D. suzukii eggs, larvae and pupae and also captured adult flies. The European earwig F. auricularia was the most voracious predator of these three tested species. Although the earwigs were not able to catch adult flies, they readily preyed upon every other developmental stage. Adult O. majusculus or third instar larvae of C. carnea significantly reduced the offspring of D. suzukii from infested cherries, when these contained the egg stage of the pest. None of the predators were able to attack early larval stages inside the cherries. But pupae that protruded from the fruit epicarp or that had pupated outside the fruit were accessible to lacewing larvae and earwigs and significantly reduced by them. Orius bugs, lacewing larvae and earwigs were able, under laboratory conditions, to capture and prey upon various life stages of the invasive pest, if not completely concealed inside the fruit. Our findings suggest that these generalist predators may have some control capacity on infested fruit in cultivated fruit crops and also in non-crop habitats.