Life history characteristics of Frankliniella occidentalis on cucumber leaves with and without supplemental food

J. Hulshof, E. Ketoja, I. Vänninen

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The development time, fecundity, longevity, and resultant intrinsic growth rate of the western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) [Thysanoptera: Thripidae] encaged on a cucumber leaf were compared among seven types of food supplied: six pollen species and a mixture of milk powder and yeast. The rationale was to find a food source that offers the least benefit for thrips and could therefore be considered as a food source for the preventative introduction of thrips predators. With the exception of the mixture of milk powder and yeast, all the food sources tested offered a nutritional benefit for the thrips. The addition of pollen increased fecundity and reduced development time, mainly during the larval stage. Betula pubescens and Corylus avellana pollen also increased adult longevity. The nutritional benefit of Pinus sylvestris pollen was greater than that of the other five pollen species, as manifested by its significantly greater positive effect on fecundity. The other pollen species could not be ranked in terms of nutritional benefit to F. occidentalis. The negative effect of the milk powder plus yeast mix on the life-table parameters of F. occidentalis probably only occurs in an encaged situation where thrips cannot escape from the unfavorable environment. The crude estimate of the intrinsic growth rate of F. occidentalis increased from 0.163 on the plain cucumber leaf to 0.240 when P. sylvestris pollen was added to the leaf. The differences in intrinsic growth rate mainly reflect the differences in fecundity among the food sources. Thus, the peak oviposition rate may be used as a measure of the nutritional benefit F. occidentalis can obtain by feeding on supplemental food sources. The positive effect of a supplemental food source on thrips does not necessarily mean it is unsuitable for the preventative introduction of thrips predators, because the supplemental food can also affect the population dynamics of the predator and the predator-prey interaction and, hence, the outcome of biological control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-32
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • flower thrips thysanoptera
  • resistant cucumber
  • pollen
  • phytoseiidae
  • populations
  • tables
  • models
  • acari
  • plant
  • mites

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