Biodiversity and pollen feeding habits of syrphids in olive groves and surrounding landscape in Northeastern Portugal during spring
Abstract: Many syrphid larvae are predators of aphids and early stages of moths and psyllids, being potential control agents of some olive pests. However, adults need pollen and nectar for energy and reproduction. An increase of plant resources biodiversity in heterogeneous landscape could benefit these natural enemies. Thus, our goal of was to study the syrphid biodiversity and their pollen sources in olive agroecosystems from the northeast of Portugal during spring, that coincides with the availability of pests. For that, syrphids were captured in three not-tilled olive groves and two surrounding field areas (an herbaceous vegetation patch and a scrubland) next to each olive grove. Simultaneously, flowering plant inventories were carried out. Syrphids and the pollen contained in the guts of the most abundant species were identified. Thereafter pollen in guts was compared with pollen in the environment to evaluate a potential pollen selection. The most abundant species were Sphaerophoria scripta and Melanostoma mellinum. During the spring syrphids did not consume all the occurring plant species but did not actively selected pollen types. Results indicated that Asteraceae, Plantaginaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Echium type, Rumex type and Jasione type are important food sources for M. mellinum and S. scripta. These results will allow managing ground cover vegetation more efficiently in order to conserve syrphid in the olive agroecosystem.