The effect of leaf hairs on searching efficiency of adult female Phytoseiulus persimilis was investigated. For this purpose we used the ornamental crop Gerbera jamesonii and determined the predator's searching efficiency on three cultivars that differ largely in the density of leaf hairs on the undersurface of the leaves. Walking speed of the mites was highest on the cultivar with the lowest leaf hair density. Walking activity, defined as the percentage of time spent walking, was not dependent on leaf hair density of the cultivars. At both prey densities tested, time until first predation increased with leaf hair density. The predation rate of adult female R persimilis is affected by trichome density, particularly when prey density is low. At prey densities of 1.3 and 2.5 Tetranychus urticae eggs cm-2, predation rate was inversely related to leaf hair density. At a prey density of 8.0 eggs cm-2 no significant effect of leaf hair density on predation rate was found. These negative effects on searching efficiency and predation success at low prey density of R persimilis suggest that biological control of T. urticae on gerbera may be hampered by leaf hairs.
|Journal||Experimental and Applied Acarology|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|
- Biological control
- Gerbera jamesonii, trichomes
- Tritrophic interactions
- Walking speed