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Antipredator behaviours of a spider mite in response to cues of dangerous and harmless predators

Dias, Cleide Rosa, Bernardo, Ana Maria Guimarães, Mencalha, Jussara, Freitas, Caelum Woods Carvalho, Sarmento, Renato Almeida, Pallini, Angelo, Janssen, Arne
Experimental & applied acarology 2016 v.69 no.3 pp. 263-276
Phytoseiulus longipes, Tetranychus evansi, acarology, antipredatory behavior, avoidance behavior, eggs, females, leaves, oviposition, predation, predatory mites
Prey are known to invest in costly antipredator behaviour when perceiving cues of dangerous, but not of relatively harmless predators. Whereas most studies investigate one type of antipredator behaviour, we studied several types (changes in oviposition, in escape and avoidance behaviour) in the spider mite Tetranychus evansi in response to cues from two predatory mites. The predator Phytoseiulus longipes is considered a dangerous predator for T. evansi, whereas Phytoseiulus macropilis has a low predation rate on this prey, thus is a much less dangerous predator. Spider mite females oviposited less on leaf disc halves with predator cues than on clean disc halves, independent of the predator species. On entire leaf discs, they laid fewer eggs in the presence of cues of the dangerous predator than on clean discs, but not in the presence of cues of the harmless predator. Furthermore, the spider mites escaped more often from discs with cues of the dangerous predator than from discs without predator cues, but they did not escape more from discs with cues of the harmless predator. The spider mites did not avoid plants with conspecifics and predators. We conclude that the spider mites displayed several different antipredator responses to the same predator species, and that some of these antipredator responses were stronger with cues of dangerous predators than with cues of harmless predators.