Predatory potential of Forficulidae (Dermaptera) on the olive fly Bactrocera oleae


Abstract: Earwigs (Dermaptera: Forficulidae) are omnivorous insects, feeding on a variety of plants and animal material and are described as natural control agents of pests in several agroecosystems. Earwigs are abundant in olive orchards and their adult stage overlaps in time and space with the pupae stage of the main olive pest, the olive fly Bactrocera oleae (Rossi). However, the role of earwigs as natural control agents of B. oleae is almost unknown. The present work aimed to study the functional response of female and male earwigs on olive fly pupae in order to analyse their potential ability to limit this pest. Increasing densities of pupae were offered to starved earwigs in a controlled laboratory environment. After 24 h, the number of attacked pupae was recorded. The type of functional response, handling time, and attack rate of the earwigs was assessed. Our results disentangle the potentiality of earwigs as predators of B. oleae during the pupae stage and provide relevant information for further studies and applications.

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