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Is Tetranychus urticae suitable prey for development and reproduction of naïve Coleomegilla maculata?

Eric W. Riddick, Zhixin Wu, M. Guadalupe Rojas
Insect science 2014 v.21 no.1 pp. 83-92
diet, life history, plant products, reproduction, eggs, instars, mites, adults, nutrient requirements, feeding behavior, larvae, Aphidoidea, Tetranychus urticae, Ephestia kuehniella, Musca domestica, females, Coleomegilla maculata, greenhouses
The lady beetle Coleomegilla maculata De Geer is an omnivorous predator that could help suppress aphid and spider mite populations on plants in greenhouses, plantscapes or interiorscapes. We are assessing the nutritional requirements and feeding behavior of C. maculata on target prey (spider mites) and factitious (unnatural) food. Our ultimate goal is to develop an efficacious diet to mass produce C. maculata. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that Tetranychus urticae Koch (two‐spotted spider mite) is not suitable prey for development and reproduction of naïve C. maculata (i.e., with no prior exposure to T. urticae). Our objectives were to (i) provide baseline data on the effects of consuming T. urticae on C. maculata life history, (ii) to compare the effects of consuming all stages of T. urticae versus eggs of Musca domestica L. (common housefly), and (iii) to determine if the consumption of plant products was beneficial. We used C. maculata from a colony reared only on Ephestia kuehniella Zeller (Mediterranean flour moth) eggs. In experiments, C. maculata larvae were reared from the first instar to adult stage with prey/food in replicated arenas; adult females were paired with a single male with prey/food. The results showed that naïve C. maculata readily attacked and consumed T. urticae. Nevertheless, T. urticae was less suitable than M. domestica eggs for C. maculata development and reproduction. Applying a synthetic pollen‐Chlorella alga powder (SPCA) in arenas containing T. urticae appeared to boost C. maculata female development and reproduction.