Predation ability of Typhlodromus (Anthoseius) recki (Acari: Phytoseiidae) and relationships between phenotypic traits and dispersal


Abstract: Tomato crops are attacked by several pests, including mites. While the main
predatory mites used for biological control are not efficient enough due to dispersal and
settlement issues associated to glandular trichomes on leaves and stems, recent studies showed encouraging results for the European endemic predatory species: Typhlodromus (Anthoseius) recki. The objectives of the present study were to (i) determine the predation ability of this predatory mite on different food sources (Tetranychus urticae, T. evansi, Aculops lycopersici, Tuta absoluta, Trialeurodes vaporarorium and Typha sp. pollen) and (ii) to determine how much predatory mite morphological traits can explain dispersal along the tomato stem. To achieve this second objective, dispersal ability of females on tomato was tested in lab conditions for eight cultivars, more or less hairy, and the females were then mounted on slides for measuring body dimensions. In the first experiment, we showed that T. (A.) recki was able to feed and develop on all the food sources proposed, eating in mean per day 16 eggs of T. urticae and 3.3 eggs of T. absoluta. The highest fecundity was observed when the predator was fed on pollen and A. lycopersici (about 1.8 eggs/day). In the second experiment, no effect of the tomato cultivar was observed on the dispersal ability of the predator. However, specimens that succeed in crossing the stem, were more mobile than those failed. Furthermore, the body width was negatively correlated to dispersal abilities, suggesting that the more the specimens are narrow more they are mobile and able to successfully cross the stem, whatever the cultivar considered.

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