Predatory ability of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and Orius sauteri (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) for suppression of fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).
The lepidopteran pest, Spodoptera frugiperda (JE Smith), spread rapidly after its first detection in China and has caused significant yield loss to maize production in the southwestern part of the country. Although natural enemies of S. frugiperda are present in the field, biological control using naturally distributed predators is ineffective because their underlying populations are too low. To enhance our understanding of the potential role of natural enemies in regulating this invasive pest, functional response experiments were conducted to quantify the response of two predators, Orius sauteri (Poppius) (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) and Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), in terms of consumption of S. frugiperda. Experimental results revealed that the predatory effects of nymphs of O. sauteri and H. axyridis on the eggs and larvae of S. frugiperda fitted Holling's Type II functional response model. Importantly, the theoretical maximum number of prey consumed per day (Na-max), the instantaneous attack rate (a') and the handling time (Th) of O. sauteri nymphs on S. frugiperda eggs were 15.19, 0.7444 and 0.049 d, respectively; and the parameters on first instar larvae of S. frugiperda were 700.24, 0.5602 and 0.0008 d, respectively. These data contrast to those of H. axyridis, where the Na-max, a' and Th of adults on eggs of S. frugiperda were 130.73, 1.1112 and 0.085 d, respectively, and on the first instar larvae of S. frugiperda were 1401.1, 0.8407 and 0.0006 d, respectively. These results revealed that H. axyridis is a highly voracious predator of the eggs and young larvae of S. frugiperda and O. sauteri could also be used as biocontrol agent of this pest. Our work provides a theoretical framework for the application of natural enemies to control S. frugiperda in the field. Further research is required to strategize conservation biological control approaches in the field to increase populations of these predators and enhance the suppression of S. frugiperda.