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Evaluating the enemies hypothesis in a clover-cabbage intercrop: effects of generalist and specialist natural enemies on the turnip root fly (Delia floralis)

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• The relative importance of the resource concentration hypothesis and the enemies hypothesis was investigated for the turnip root fly Delia floralis in a cabbage–red clover intercropping system compared with a cabbage monoculture.

Delia floralis egg densities were measured as well as the activity-densities of generalist predators in a field experiment during two growing seasons. In the second year, a study of egg predation with artificially placed eggs was conducted, in addition to a predator exclusion experiment, to estimate total predation during the season. Parasitization rates were estimated from samples of pupae.

Delia floralis oviposition was greater in the monoculture during both years. The predator activity-densities differed between treatments and study years. The known natural enemies of Delia spp., Bembidion spp. and Aleochara bipustulata showed a strong response to a cultivation system with higher activity-densities in the monoculture. The response, however, appeared to be caused primarily by habitat preferences and not by D. floralis egg densities.

• The reduction in the number of D. floralis pupae in the intercropping may be explained by a disruption in oviposition behaviour caused by the presence of clover because neither predation, nor parasitization rates differed between cultivation systems.
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Keywords: Delia radicum; natural enemies hypothesis; parasitization; predation; resource concentration hypothesis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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