Zeitschrift für Pflanzenkrankheiten und Pflanzenschutz - Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection (2003) 110, 583-590

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A. Lang and S. Gsödl (2003)
"Superfluous killing" of aphids: a potentially beneficial behaviour of the predator Poecilus cupreus (L.) (Coleoptera: Carabidae)?
Zeitschrift für Pflanzenkrankheiten und Pflanzenschutz - Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection 110 (6), 583-590
Abstract: The killing of prey without consuming the prey is called 'superfluous killing' or 'wasteful killing'. In this study, the feeding behaviour of Poecilus cupreus (Coleoptera: Carabidae) was examined in the laboratory with regard to its superfluous killing behaviour. Three different prey species were offered under varying prey densities: aphids (Rhopalosiphum padi), fruit flies (Drosophila rnelanogaster), and house crickets (Acheta domestica). The higher the prey density the more prey items P. cupreus killed. However, complete consumption of prey items differed among prey species. The proportion of superfluous killing was highest for R. padi, and lowest for A. domestica. With increasing prey density, the proportion of superfluous killing increased in D. melanogaster and A. domestica, whereas in R. padi superfluous killing by P. cupreus was always high and independent of prey density. The high amount of superfluous killing indicates that P. cupreus might kill a substantial proportion of aphids in the field, and that this behaviour could considerably contribute to the carabid's beneficial impact in agricultural fields.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Database assignments for author(s): Andreas Lang

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.


Rhopalosiphum padi Germany
Poecilus cupreus (predator) Rhopalosiphum padi Germany