Orius similis (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae): a promising candidate predator of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).
The bug Orius similis Zheng is a native generalist predator of insect pests in southern China. The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith), is a notorious defoliator that is now an economically important insect pest throughout China. To investigate the ability of O. similis to control FAW, we evaluated the predatory capacity, behavior, and functional response of O. similis with respect to FAW and their olfactory response. Both females and males successfully preyed on FAW eggs and first-instar larvae but not on second-instar or older larvae. Adult O. similis only attacked and killed one egg or one larva at a time before sucking the prey, and similar predatory behavior was also observed with regard to FAW egg masses. Both female and male O. similis exhibited type II functional response when preying on FAW eggs and first-instar larvae. Maximum estimated prey consumed per day was 23.7 eggs and 26.2 larvae for adult females and 22.5 eggs and 19.6 larvae for adult males. Moreover, in a Y-tube olfactometer experiment, both female and male O. similis exhibited a significant preference for maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings damaged by FAW over clean air, healthy seedlings, FAW feces, and FAW, suggesting that seedlings damaged by FAW may releases specific volatiles attracting the predator. Collectively, the results of the study suggest that O. similis is a promising candidate for the biological control of FAW eggs and first-instar larvae, particularly given its attraction to FAW-damaged leaves, which may enable it to locate the target prey rapidly.