Can we get phytoseiids to like Echinothrips americanus?
Abstract: Echinothrips americanus Morgan (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) remains a difficult pest to control due to the lack of suitable biocontrol agents. In this study we aimed at assessing why phytoseiid predatory mites do not succeed in controlling this pest. We performed experiments to investigate whether the appreciation of E. americanus larvae as a prey for the predatory mite Amblydromalus limonicus (Garman & McGregor) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) can be increased. Results showed that from a nutritional perspective E. americanus seems to be an adequate food source. Therefore, we performed experiments to rule out whether low predation rates might be due to antipredator behavior of the thrips or chemicals released by the prey that repel the phytoseiid. Results suggested that not food imprinting, but actual feeding (associative learning) by A. limonicus females on E. americanus prey in the juvenile stages might be an important factor.Abstract only