Phytoseiid predators against Tetranychus urticae Koch in tomato


Abstract: Phytoseiid predatory mites are important biological control agents of a large number of herbivorous pests and have long been used in biological control and integrated pest management. Most phytoseiids, however, cannot offer satisfactory biological pest control in hostile crops such as tomato, mainly because of its glandular trichomes that disrupt the mites’ movement. Nevertheless, after a number of generations some species could adapt on tomato, resulting in higher survival. Also, some generalist predatory mites feed on alternative food sources, such as plant pollen, an important food source, which can support their populations during periods of prey scarcity or even improve biological control on prey that is not optimal for the predators. Here, we studied the predation efficiency of the phytoseiid predators Amblyseius swirskii, Phytoseiulus persimilis and Typhlodromus athiasae which were collected in Greece against the two spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae on tomato. Pollen was provided as food source or not. Our results highlight the role of native, possibly adapted, phytoseiids in biological pest control in tomato.

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