Plant species modifies the functional response of Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) to T
Plant species modifies the functional response of Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) to Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae): implications for biological control
D.J. Skirvina1 c1 and J.S. Fenlona1
a1 Horticulture Research International, Wellesbourne, Warwick CV35 9EF, UK
The functional response of the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot to eggs of its prey, the spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch was examined on three plant species. Experiments were done to determine whether differences in the functional response on the three plant species were due to the morphological features of the crop directly on the predator or through an effect of the plant species on the prey. The results show that crop morphology is the only factor influencing the predatory ability of P. persimilis on the three plant species. Fewer eggs were eaten on Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. ‘Autumnal Blue’, the plant species with hairy leaves, and greater numbers of prey consumed on Choisya ternata, a species with smooth leaves. However, similarly few eggs were eaten on the smooth, but waxy leaved Euonymus japonicus as on Ceanothus thyrsiflorus, demonstrating that morphological characters of leaves other than the possession of hairs and trichomes may affect the rates of predation. The implications of these results for the tritrophic interactions between plant, predator and prey, and the development of suitable biological control strategies are discussed.
(Accepted August 16 2000)