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Effect of pollen supplement on intraguild predatory interactions between two omnivores: The importance of spatial dynamics

Shakya, Sulochana, Weintraub, Phyllis G., Coll, Moshe
Biological control 2009 v.50 no.3 pp. 281-287
insect behavior, insect pests, predatory insects, strawberries, Fragaria ananassa, biological control agents, host plants, spatial distribution, plant pests, Frankliniella occidentalis, flowers, Orius laevigatus, Neoseiulus cucumeris, predation, spatial variation, natural enemies, pollen, habitats
Arthropods often engage in complex trophic interactions such as intraguild predation (IGP), true omnivory (i.e., feeding on plants and prey), and apparent competition. Theoretical treatments of the effects of such interactions on herbivore populations have been concerned almost entirely with equilibrium conditions. Yet these interactions are common in non-equilibrium settings such as agroecosystems, where they are likely to have a strong influence on pest populations. We therefore tested short-term effects of IGP and food supplementation on interactions between two predators (the phytoseiid mite Neoseiulus cucumeris and the anthocorid bug Orius laevigatus) and their shared prey, Frankliniella occidentalis, on strawberry plants. All three consumers feed on strawberry pollen, both mites and bugs prey on thrips, and the bug also feeds on the mites (IGP). Strong IGP on mites (IG prey) by the bugs (IG predator) was recorded in structurally-simple arenas. In a more complex setting (whole-plants), however, the intensity of IGP differed among plant structures. Likewise, pollen supplementation reduced both IGP and predation on thrips in a structurally simple setting. In the whole-plant experiment, IGP was more intense on pollen-bearing than pollen-free flowers. The study illustrated how spatial dynamics, generated when consumers track food sources differently in the habitat and possibly when herbivorous and IG prey alter their distribution to escape predation, led to site-specific configuration of interacting populations. The intensity of resulting trophic interactions was weakened by food supplementation and by increased complexity of the habitat.