Feeding Preference of Macrolophus caliginosus (Heteroptera: Miridae) on Bemisia tabaci and Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae)

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A study of predation choices of Macrolophus caliginosus Wagner (Heteroptera: Miridae) late instars and adults, when offered various developmental stages (eggs and nymphs) of the recently established whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae), was made based on two preference indices. In addition, prey choices of late instars when presented with three ratios of Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood) (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) and B. tabaci at a similar developmental stage (eggs, young or late instars) were assessed. M. caliginosus preferred older nymphs of B. tabaci than any other stage. It also chose T. vaporariorum over B. tabaci, unless the latter consisted of >75% of the available prey. These results suggested that M. caliginosus might interfere with parasitoids such as Encarsia, Eretmocerus, or Amitus spp. because all three species emerge from the host pupal case. Furthermore, in mixed infestations, M. caliginosus preference for T. vaporariorum might either negatively affect the control of B. tabaci, or, contrarily, enhance the predator population, before a B. tabaci outbreak occurs in the greenhouse.

Keywords: Bemisia tabaci; Macrolophus caliginosus; Trialeurodes vaporariorum; feeding preference

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-99.4.1143

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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