Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Functional response and predation rate of Dicyphus cerastii wagner (Hemiptera: Miridae).

Abstract

Dicyphine mirids are important biological control agents (BCAs) in horticultural crops. Dicyphus cerastii Wagner can be found in protected tomato crops in Portugal, and has been observed feeding on several tomato pests. However, the predation capacity of this species is poorly studied. In order to investigate the predation capacity of D. cerastii, and how it is affected by prey size and mobility, we evaluated the functional response (FR) and predation rate of female predators on different densities of four prey species: Myzus persicae 1st instar nymphs (large mobile prey), Bemisia tabaci 4th instar nymphs, Ephestia kuehniella eggs (large immobile prey) and Tuta absoluta eggs (small immobile prey). Experiments were performed on tomato leaflets in Petri dish arenas for 24 h. Dicyphus cerastii exhibited type II FR for all prey tested. The predator effectively preyed upon all prey, consuming an average of 88.8 B. tabaci nymphs, 134.4 E. kuehniella eggs, 37.3 M. persicae nymphs and 172.3 T. absoluta eggs. Differences in the FR parameters, attack rate and handling time, suggested that prey size and mobility affected predation capacity. Considering the very high predation rates found for all prey species, D. cerastii proved to be an interesting candidate BCA for tomato crops.