Intensity of intraguild predation of parasitized eggs by mirid predators depends on time since parasitization: a case study with the parasitoid Trichogramma pretiosum and the predator Macrolophus basicornis attacking Tuta absoluta eggs

Vanda H.P. Bueno*, Antonino Cusumano, Mariana Santos-Silva, Flavio C. Montes, José R.P. Parra, Nina E. Fatouros, Joop C. Van Lenteren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Concurrent releases of several species of natural enemies for pest control have been studied in various crops with either positive, neutral, or negative results. To control the pest Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera Gelechiidae), only the egg parasitoid Trichogramma pretiosum Riley (Hymenoptera Trichogrammatidae) is applied on many hectares with tomatoes in South America. Use of the mirid predator Macrolophus basicornis Stal (Hemiptera Miridae) is considered either alone or in combination with the parasitoid T. pretiosum. To determine if intraguild relationships between the two natural enemies negatively affect concurrent re-leases, unparasitized eggs and eggs parasitized by T. pretiosum were exposed to the predator. Knowing which stages of parasitized eggs are consumed or rejected by the predator is important for development of a release strategy resulting in highest pest mortality. M. basicornis consumed 1-2 day old parasitized eggs as well as unparasitized eggs, and, consequently, expressed strong intraguild predation (IGP). Five and 9-day old parasitized eggs were often not consumed, and, therefore, exerted the phenomenon of competitive exclusion (CE). Predation rates of old parasitized eggs were very low and similar in no-choice and choice tests, and in experiments with a large (100), medium (50) and very limited (10) number of preys offered, demonstrating a strong CE effect. Interest-ingly, in choice experiments with unparasitized and old parasitized eggs, predators started to consume unparasitized eggs signifi-cantly later than when only unparasitized or young parasitized eggs were offered. This suggests that old, parasitized eggs in some way reduce the foraging activity of M. basicornis. We expect that stronger pest reduction by concurrent releases of both natural enemies will only occur at the start of the tomato production season and when the egg parasitoid is introduced seven days before the mirid predator in order to reduce intraguild predation of parasitized eggs by the predator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-218
Number of pages10
JournalBulletin of Insectology
Volume76
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • biological control of invasive pest
  • competitive exclusion
  • intraguild predation
  • Phthorimaea absoluta
  • South American tomato leaf miner

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