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Effect of cannibalism on predation, oviposition and longevity of the predacious mite, Agistemus exsertus Gonzalez (Acari: Stigmaeidae)

Rasmy, Aly H., Saber, S.A.
Archives of phytopathology and plant protection 2012 v.45 no.8 pp. 977-985
Agistemus, Tetranychus urticae, adults, cannibalism, eggs, females, immatures, longevity, oviposition, predation, predatory mites
Cannibalism (intraspecific predation) on conspecific eggs was investigated in the predatory stigmaeid mite, Agistemus exsertus Gonzalez in the absence of eggs of Tetranychus urticae Koch (no-choice tests) and presence of three densities of prey eggs simultaneously (choice tests) in the laboratory. Data show that cannibalism occurs in immatures and adult females of the predator, which successfully developed and reproduced on conspecific eggs as an alternative prey in the absence of prey eggs. In no-choice tests, cannibalism rate on conspecific eggs by A. exsertus stages was significantly lower than the predation rate on T. urticae eggs. The predatory mite exhibited a marked decline in oviposition rate when preyed on conspecific eggs compared with feeding on prey eggs. The developmental duration and longevity of A. exsertus females were significantly longer 1.9 and 1.7 times, respectively, when fed on conspecific eggs than feeding on T. urticae eggs. The propensity of the predator towards cannibalism depends on the prey density, when T. urticae eggs and conspecific eggs are present simultaneously. Provision of increased densities of prey eggs significantly decreased cannibalism and predation by A. exsertus stages, which fed generally less on conspecific eggs than on T. urticae eggs in choice tests. The oviposition rate of the predator increased significantly, as the egg density of the prey increased. The developmental period and longevity of A. exsertus females showed significantly gradual shortness with increasing egg density of the prey.