Geocoris punctipes nymphs and adults easily prey on leaf-mining larvae of Tuta absoluta on tomato

Vanda Helena Paes Bueno*, Diego Bastos Silva, Ana Maria Calixto, Flávio Cardoso Montes, Joop C. van Lenteren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The tomato borer Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) is quickly developing into a serious, worldwide pest of tomato. Its larvae penetrate to the mesophyll, resulting in mines in the leaves. Larvae also can attack the stem and fruits, and, thus, tomato yields can be completely lost if no control methods are used. Rapid development of resistance to frequently applied pesticides necessitates a search for alternative control methods, such as biological control. Here we present quantitative results of predation of larvae of T. absoluta by nymphs and adults of Geocoris punctipes (Say). All five nymphal instars of the predator G. punctipes detect, attack and consume 1st larval instars of T. absoluta. The 1st nymphal instar of the predator consumes on average 4 prey larvae, while the 5th nymphal instar consumes more than 10 prey larvae per day. Male and female adult predators are able to detect and attack all four larval instars of the pest, and on average 2 (4th larval instar) to 13 (1st larval instar) can be attacked per day. Females kill more prey than males. These predation results are promising, because they show that G. punctipes nymphs and adults consume large numbers of larvae and can contribute to a considerable reduction of larval pest populations Thus, this predator might be a potential candidate for augmentative biological control of T. absoluta.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-276
JournalBulletin of Insectology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Augmentative biological control
  • Generalist predator
  • Predation rate
  • Tomato borer


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