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Species abundance patterns of coccinellid communities associated with olive, chestnut and almond crops in north‐eastern Portugal

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The patterns of abundance of coccinellid species associated to the main agricultural tree crops of north‐eastern Portugal namely olive, chestnut and almond were studied.

During three to four crop seasons, eight olive, five chestnut and one almond groves were sampled. In each grove, five samples were collected from 10 randomly selected trees using the beating technique and the coccinellids were counted and identified to species. Principal component analysis was used to establish associations among crop and coccinellid species.

The mean species richness was higher in chestnut, with 15 ± 3.81 species/grove, followed by olive and almond, with 13 ± 2.76 and 10 ± 2.97 species/grove, respectively. Scymnus mediterraneus was the most abundant species in olive and almond, whereas Scymnus interruptus was dominant in chestnut. Brumus quadripustulatus, Chilocorus bipustulatus, Scymnus subvillosus, S. mediterraneus and Rhyzobius chrysomeloides were associated with olive, whereas S. interruptus, Coccinella septempunctata and Adalia decempunctata were associated with chestnut and Hippodamia variegata, Oenopia conglobata and Adalia bipunctata with almond. Both Stethorus punctillum and Scymnus apetzi species were similarly associated with chestnut and almond.

The differences in coccinellid communities could have been related to the kind of prey item present in the different trees. This knowledge can be used to develop integrated pest management programmes that encourage greater natural enemy biodiversity in agroecosystems.

Document Type: Research Article


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Publication date: 2012-11-01

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