Predation of Tuta absoluta eggs during the nymphal stages of three neotropical mirid predators on tomato

Joop C. Van Lenteren, V.H.P. Bueno*, Jolein Smit, Marianne A. Soares, Ana M. Calixto, Flavio C. Montes, Peter De Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), a key pest of tomato, is quickly spreading over the world. We are evaluating the biology and pest control capacity of three Neotropical mirid species, Campyloneuropsis infumatus (Carvalho), Engytatus varians (Distant) and Macrolophus basicornis (Stal). Here we report about the predation of T. absoluta eggs by all nymphal stages of the three mirid species. A tomato leaflet with ad libitum prey was offered to a newly-emerged 1st instar nymph of a mirid predator and kept at 24 ± 1 °C, 70 ± 10% RH and 12-h photophase. Daily, the developmental stage of the nymph, as well as the number of eggs consumed was noted, and a new leaflet with eggs was added. Observations ended after nymphs had developed into adults and their sex had been determined. The average number of prey eaten by nymphs increased with nymphal age, and the 5th nymphal instar consumed higher numbers of prey than all earlier instars together. Total nymphal predation was 315, 393 and 331 T. absoluta eggs and total nymphal development took 16.9, 16.6 and 17.9 days for C. infumatus, E. varians and M. basicornis, respectively. Female nymphs of M. basicornis consumed significantly more prey than male nymphs. Nymphal survival of the three mirid species was 93%. The adult sex ratios of E. varians and M. basicornis did not deviate from a 1: 1 ratio, whereas the sex ratio of C. infumatus was significantly female biased. Nymphal predation of these three Neotropical mirids was higher than values reported for any other mirid predator, which, together with their earlier published positive characteristics, make them interesting candidates for biological control of T. absoluta.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-74
JournalBulletin of Insectology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Biological control
  • Campyloneuropsis infumatus
  • Engytatus varians
  • Macrolophus basicornis
  • Miridae
  • Tomato borer


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