Functional response of Chrysoperla carnea (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) to Saissetia oleae (Olivier) (Hemiptera: Coccidae)
Abstract: Lacewings are common biocontrol agents against a wide range of agricultural pests. These predators are highly voracious against soft-bodied preys such as juveniles of scale insects. In this context, the present work aims to study the use of Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) as biological control agent against Saissetia oleae (Olivier) (Hemiptera: Coccidae). For that, we studied the functional response of the larval instars of C. carnea to nymphs of S. oleae. Increasing densities (3, 5, 10, 15, 25 and 40) of S. oleae nymphs were offered to the three larval stages of C. carnea in a controlled laboratory environment. After 24 hours, the number of S. oleae consumed by C. carnea larva was recorded and the functional response calculated. The three larval stages of C. carnea displayed a type II functional response behavior. Prey consumption by C. carnea larvae increased with high S. oleae densities. Moreover, younger larvae showed a lower predation rate in comparison with the older ones. The search rate and handling time of the third instar larvae were lower than those of the younger larval instars, and the simulated max. attack rate of the third instar larvae was higher than those of the first and second instar larvae. Our results suggest that all larval stages of C. carnea could be important in S. oleae biological control in olive orchards, although the third larval stage of the predator was more efficient in reducing S. oleae densities than first and second C. carnea larval instars.