Insect Science (2021) 28, 224-230

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François Dumont, Éric Lucas and Oscar Alomar (2021)
Oviposition behavior of the mirid Macrolophus pygmaeus under risk of intraguild predation and cannibalism
Insect Science 28 (1), 224-230
Abstract: Zoophytophagous mirid species, that feed and develop either on prey or plant resources, are often found simultaneously on the same host. Hence, these species can engage in both intraguild predation and cannibalism, which can pose a threat to mirid eggs. Ovipositing females may respond to such risks of predation on their eggs by reducing the number of eggs laid or selecting safer oviposition sites. We tested the oviposition behavior of Macrolophus pygmaeus (Rambur) (Hemiptera: Miridae) females under the risk of cannibalism by M. pygmaeus males and intraguild predation by Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter) males (Hemiptera: Miridae) under laboratory conditions. Intraguild predators and cannibals were introduced during or after the oviposition period. The number of eggs laid (using counts of newly hatched nymphs) and their proportion on each part of a tomato plant were both measured. The results reveal that only cannibalism by M. pygmaeus males after the period of oviposition significantly decreased the number of hatched eggs. Cannibalism thus represents a greater risk to mirid eggs than intraguild predation. The M. pygmaeus female responded to the presence of potential intraguild predators (or competitors) by decreasing the number of eggs laid in the upper leaves. The results suggest that M. pygmaeus females avoid competition by N. tenuis, by laying fewer eggs on upper leaves. Cannibalism could regulate zoophytophagous predator populations under prey scarcity conditions and minimize the risk of crop damage associated with those biological control agents.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Oscar Alomar

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Macrolophus pygmaeus (predator)
Nesidiocoris tenuis (predator)