Population dynamics of interacting predatory mites, Phytoseiulus persimilis and Neoseiulus californicus, held on detached bean leaves

A Walzer, S Blumel, P Schausberger

The success of combined release of the predatory mites Phytoseiulus persimilis and Neoseiulus californicus in suppression of spider mites may be related to the effects of the interactions between the two predators on their population dynamics. We studied population growth and persistence of the specialist P. persimilis and the generalist N. californicus reared singly versus reared in combination after simultaneous and successive predator introductions on detached bean leaf arenas with abundant prey, Tetranychus urticae, and with diminishing prey. When reared singly with abundant prey, either predator population persisted at high densities to the end of the experiment. In every predator combination system with abundant prey and various initial predator:predator ratios N. californicus displaced P. persimilis. When held singly with diminishing prey, the population of P. persimilis grew initially faster than the population of N. californicus but both species reached similar population peaks. Irrespective whether reared singly or in combination, N. californicus persisted three to five times longer after prey depletion than did P. persimilis. Regarding the crucial interactions in the predator combination systems, we conclude that intraguild predation was a stronger force than food competition and finally resulted in the displacement of P. persimilis. Previous studies showed that intraguild predation between the specialist P. persimilis and the generalist N. californicus is strongly asymmetric favoring the generalist. We discuss the implications of potential interactions between P. persimilis and N. californicus to biological control of spider mites.

External organisation(s)
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Fed Off & Res Ctr Agr, Inst Phytomed
Experimental & Applied Acarology
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106047 Animal ecology
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