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Continuous rearing of the predatory mite Neoseiulus californicus on an artificial diet

Song, Zi-Wei, Nguyen, Duc Tung, Li, Dun-Song, De Clercq, Patrick
BioControl 2019 v.64 no.2 pp. 125-137
Ephestia kuehniella, Neoseiulus californicus, Tetranychus urticae, artificial diets, biological control, biological control agents, dietary supplements, eggs, fecundity, females, larvae, life tables, longevity, mass rearing, nutritive value, predation, predatory mites
Neoseiulus californicus (McGregor) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) is one of the most efficient biological control agents of tetranychid mites and is commercially used in various countries around the world. In this study, four artificial diets were tested as an alternative food source for rearing N. californicus, and life table studies were performed to evaluate the nutritional value of the diets. Further, the performance of N. californicus reared for seven consecutive generations on the artificial diet enriched with Ephestia kuehniella Zeller eggs was assessed. The egg and larval periods of N. californicus did not differ among the natural prey (Tetranychus urticae Koch) and artificial diets, but the developmental times of the nymphal stages were significantly longer on any of the artificial diets than on the natural prey. The total fecundity of N. californicus was reduced when the predator was fed on any of the artificial diets as compared with T. urticae (54.33 eggs per female). Among the artificial diets, fecundity of N. californicus was best on a basic artificial diet enriched with E. kuehniella (AD2) (41.32 eggs per female). Moreover, AD2 did not significantly affect the longevity and reproduction of N. californicus females after long-term rearing on this artificial diet. The predation and reproduction capacities of N. californicus reared on AD2 for up to four generations were significantly reduced when the predator was switched to natural prey on the first day, but generally improved from the second to third day on. In conclusion, artificial diets supplemented with an extract of E. kuehniella eggs (20%) may have potential for use in the mass rearing of N. californicus.