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Spider Communities and Biological Control in Native Habitats Surrounding Greenhouses

Cotes, Belén, González, Mónica, Benítez, Emilio, De Mas, Eva, Clemente-Orta, Gemma, Campos, Mercedes, Rodríguez, Estefanía
Insects 2018 v.9 no.1
Araneae, Bemisia tabaci, Frankliniella occidentalis, biological control, greenhouses, habitat conservation, habitats, horticulture, indigenous species, landscapes, models, natural enemies, ordination techniques, parasitoids, predation, predators, probability, shrubs
The promotion of native vegetation as a habitat for natural enemies, which could increase their abundance and fitness, is especially useful in highly simplified settings such as Mediterranean greenhouse landscapes. Spiders as generalist predators may also be involved in intra-guild predation. However, the niche complementarity provided by spiders as a group means that increased spider diversity may facilitate complementary control actions. In this study, the interactions between spiders, the two major horticultural pests, Bemisia tabaci and Frankliniella occidentalis, and their naturally occurring predators and parasitoids were evaluated in a mix of 21 newly planted shrubs selected for habitat management in a highly disturbed horticultural system. The effects of all factors were evaluated using redundancy analysis (RDA) and the generalized additive model (GAM) to assess the statistical significance of abundance of spiders and pests. The GAM showed that the abundance of both pests had a significant effect on hunter spider’s abundance, whereas the abundance of B. tabaci, but not F. occidentalis, affected web-weavers’ abundance. Ordination analysis showed that spider abundance closely correlated with that of B. tabaci but not with that of F. occidentalis, suggesting that complementarity occurs, and thereby probability of biocontrol, with respect to the targeted pest B. tabaci, although the temporal patterns of the spiders differed from those of F. occidentalis. Conservation strategies involving the establishment of these native plants around greenhouses could be an effective way to reduce pest populations outdoors.