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Impact of nC24 agricultural mineral oil deposits on the searching efficiency and predation rate of the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot (Acari: Phytoseiidae)

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Walking activity, walking straightness, walking speed and searching efficiency of the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot were measured on French bean leaf discs that were sprayed with either distilled water, or one of 0.25%, 0.50% and 1.00% w/w aqueous emulsions of an nC24 agricultural mineral oil (AMO). There was no significant difference in percentage of time that mites spent walking in the control (water-sprayed) conditions and in any of the oil treatments. Walking paths were significantly straighter in the oil treatments than in the control, but differences among the oil treatments did not differ significantly. Walking speeds in the oil treatments were significantly slower than in the control and decreased with increasing oil concentration. Deposits of oil at all concentrations significantly suppressed searching efficiency in comparison with control, and searching efficiency in the 1.00% oil treatment was significantly lower than in the 0.25% oil treatment. First predation of P. persimilis on AMO-contaminated eggs of two-spotted mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch) on unsprayed leaf discs was significantly delayed in all oil treatments in comparison with the control. However there was no significant effect on the overall predation rate. In the tests of P. persimilis predation on AMO-contaminated T. urticae eggs on sprayed leaf discs, the number of first predation occurrences in the first hour was significantly lower in 0.50% and 1.00% oil treatments than in the control. Overall predation rates were significantly reduced by oil but they did not differ significantly among the oil treatments.
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Keywords: Tetranychidae; Tetranychus urticae; behaviour; biological control; predation rate

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Plant and Food Science, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 1797, Australia. 2: School of Biological Sciences, A12, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. 3: NSW Department of Primary Industries, EMAI, PMB 8 Camden, NSW 2570, Australia.

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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