Eur. J. Entomol. 106 (2): 199-204, 2009 | 10.14411/eje.2009.025

Predation of Bradysia sp. (Diptera: Sciaridae), Liriomyza trifolii (Diptera: Agromyzidae) and Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) by Coenosia attenuata (Diptera: Muscidae) in greenhouse crops

Maria Del Mar TELLEZ1, Gervasio TAPIA1, Manuel GAMEZ*,2, Tomas CABELLO3, Helmut F. van EMDEN4
1 IFAPA Agricultural Research Station of Almeria, Junta de Andalucia, Almeria, Spain
2 Department of Statistics and Applied Mathematics, University of Almeria, Almeria, Spain
3 Department of Applied Biology, University of Almeria, Almeria, Spain
4 School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6AJ, UK

We studied the predation behaviour of the "hunter fly" (Coenosia attenuata Stein) in the laboratory and greenhouse. In the laboratory, which was conducted at 25C at 60-80% RH, with a 16L : 8D photoperiod, we examined the functional response of this species to three different pests, namely the sciarid fly (Bradysia sp.), the tobacco whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) and the leaf miner Liriomyza trifolii. In the greenhouse, we studied the population dynamics of the predator and its prey on pepper and water melon crops grown in southern Spain. Adult hunter flies were found to exhibit a type I functional response to adult sciarid flies and whiteflies, but a type II response to adult leaf miners. The type II response was a result of the greater difficulty in capturing and handling leaf miners compared to the other two species. The dynamics of the predator-prey interaction in the greenhouse revealed that the predator specializes mainly on adult sciarids and that the presence of the other prey can be supplemental, but is never essential for survival of the predator; this, however, is crop-dependent. The results on the dynamics of the predator-prey systems were obtained through a known population dynamics model with modifications.

Keywords: Greenhouse crops, functional response, predator-prey population dynamics, Diptera, Sciaridae, Bradysia sp., Agromyzidae, Liriomyza trifolii, Muscidae, Coenosia attenuata, Hemiptera, Aleyrodidae, Bemisia tabaci

Received: October 29, 2008; Accepted: February 23, 2009; Published: May 20, 2009

Download citation


  1. BARDSLEY W.G. 2007: SIMFIT: Simulation, Fitting, Statistics and Plotting. Reference manual. University of Manchester, Manchester, 379 pp
  2. CABELLO T. & VARGAS P. 1988: Response of Trichogramma cordubensis Vargas and Cabello, and T. sp. nr. pintoi (Hym.: Trichogrammatidae) to different densities of alternative host eggs. In Voegele J., Waage J. & van Lenteren J. (eds): Trichogramma and Other Egg Parasites. INRA, Paris, pp. 165-172
  3. CABELLO T., GAMEZ M. & VARGA Z. 2007: An improvement of the Holling type III functional response in entomophagous species model. J. Biol. Syst. 15: 515-524 Go to original source...
  4. CIAMPOLINI M., FARNESI I. & MASSI E. 2005: Sciarid damage to rocket crops under cover. Inf. Agrar. 61: 71-73
  5. CHANDLER L.D. 1987: Evaluation on yellow trap sizes and within-field densities for monitoring Liriomyza trifolii in bell peppers. Southwest. Entomol. 12: 245-251
  6. COLOMBO M. & EORDEGH R. 1991: Ritrovamento de Coenosia attenuata, activo predatore in Liguiria e Lombardia. Inf. Agrar. 7: 197-189
  7. EKBOM B.S. & RUMEI X. 1990: Sampling and spatial patterns of whiteflies. In Gerling D. (ed.): Whiteflies: their Bionomics, Pest Status and Management. Intercept, Newcastle, pp. 107-146
  8. ELZEN G.W., COLEMAN R.J. & KING E.G. 2003: Biological control by augmentation of natural enemies: Retrospect and prospect. In Koul O. & Dhaliwal G.S. (eds): Predators and Parasitoids. Taylor & Francis, London, pp. 41-63
  9. GARCIA-MARTIN M., GAMEZ M. & CABELLO T. 2006: Estudio de respuesta funcional en sistemas parasitoide-huesped: Aplicacion en lucha biologica contra plagas. Universidad de Almeria, Almeria, 152 pp
  10. GARCIA-MARTIN M., GAMEZ M., TORRES-RUIZ A. & CABELLO T. 2008: Functional response of Chelonus oculator (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) to temperature, and its consequences to parasitism. Commun. Ecol. 9: 45-51 Go to original source...
  11. GILIOLI G., BAUMGARTNER J. & VACANTE V. 2005: Temperature influences on functional response of Coenosia attenuata (Diptera: Muscidae) individuals. J. Econ. Entomol. 98: 1524-1530 Go to original source...
  12. HAGEN K.S. 1987: Nutritional ecology of terrestrial predators. In Slansky F. & Rodriguez J.G. (eds): Nutritional Ecology of Insects, Mites, Spiders, and Related Invertebrates. John Wiley & Sons, New York, pp. 533-577
  13. HASSELL M.P. 1978: The Dynamics of Arthropod Predator-Prey Systems. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 237 pp
  14. HAWKINS B.A. & CORNELL H.V. 1999: Theoretical Approaches to Biological Control. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 392 pp
  15. HENNING W. 1964: Family Muscidae. In Lindner E. (ed.): Die Fliegen der Palaearktischen Region. Vol. 63. Schweizerbart, Stuttgart, 1100 pp
  16. HOEBEKE E.R., SENSENBACH E.J., SANDERSON J.P. & WRAIGHT S. 2003: First report of Coenosia attenuatta Stein (Diptera: Muscidae), an Old World "Hunter Fly" in North America. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 105: 769-775
  17. JANDEL SCIENTIFIC 1994: Tablecurve 2D User's Manual. Jandel Co., San Rafael, CA, 404 pp
  18. JERVIS M. & KIDD N. 1996: Insect Natural Enemies. Chapman & Hall, London, 491 pp
  19. KINDLMANN P. & DIXON A.F.G. 2003: Insect predator-prey dynamics and the biological control of aphids by ladybirds. In VanDriesche R. (ed.): Proceedings of the International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods, Honolulu, June 2003. USDA Forest Service, Morgantown, WV, pp. 118-124
  20. KUHNE S. 1998: Open rearing of generalist predators: a strategy for improvement of biological pest control in greenhouses. Phytoparasitica 26: 277-281 Go to original source...
  21. KUHNE S. 2000: Raeuberische Fliegen der Gattung Coenosia Meigen, 1826 (Diptera: Muscidae) und die MGglichkeit ihres Einsatzes bei der biologischen Schaedlingsbekaempfung. Stud. Dipt. (Suppl.) 9: 1-78
  22. MARTINEZ M. & COCQUEMPOT C. 2000: La mouche Coenosia attenuata nouvel auxiliare prometteur en culture protegee. PHM Rev. Hort. 414: 50-52
  23. MILLS N.J. 2001: Factors influencing top-down control of insect pest populations in biological control systems. Bas. Appl. Ecol. 2: 323-332 Go to original source...
  24. MORECHI I. & COLOMBO M. 1999: Una metodica per l'allevamento dei Ditteri predatori Coenosia attenuata e C. strigipes. Inf. Fitopatol. 7-8: 61-64
  25. MOTULSKY H. & CHRISTOPOULOS A. 2003: Fitting Models to Biological Data Using Linear and Nonlinear Regression: a Practical Guide to Curve Fitting. GraphPad Software Inc., San Diego, 351 pp
  26. PEKAR S. 2005: Predatory characteristics of the ant-eating Zodarion spiders (Araneae: Zodariidae): potential biological control agents. Biol. Control 34: 196-203 Go to original source...
  27. POLH D., UYGUR F.N. & SAUERBORN J. 2003: Fluctuations in population of the first recorded predatory fly Coenosia attenuata in cotton fileds in Turkey. Phytoparasitica 31: 446-449
  28. PRIETO R., FIGUEIREDO E., MIRANDA C. & MEIXA A. 2003: Dipteros predadores do genero Coenosia Meigen (Muscidae) em culturas horticolas protegidas na regiaeo Oeste. 6º Encontro Nacional de Proteccaeo Integrada, Castelo Branco, May 2003, p. 331
  29. RODRIGUEZ M.D. & AGUILERA A. 2002: Coenosia attenuata, una nueva mosca a considerar en el control biologico de las plagas horticolas. Phytom. Esp. 141: 27-34
  30. RODRIGUEZ M.D., TRUJILLO M.E. & APARICIO V. 2008: Produccion integrada en Andalucia: cultivos horticolas protegidos. Phytom. Esp. 198: 24-28
  31. SABELI M.W. 1992: Predatory arthropods. In Crawley M.J. (ed.): Natural Enemies. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, pp. 225-264
  32. SENSENBACH E.J., SANDERSON J.P. & WRAIGHT S.P. 2004: Hunter flies: good guys in the greenhouse. Growertalks 68: 85-86
  33. SIH A. 1987: Predators and prey lifestyles: an evolutionary and ecological overview. In Kerfoot W.C. & Sih A. (eds): Predation: Direct and Indirect Impacts on Aquatic Communities. University Press of New England, Hanover, pp. 203-224
  34. SKIRVIN D.J. & FENLON J.S. 2001: Plant species modifies the functional response of Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) to Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae): implications for biological control. Bull. Entomol. Res. 91: 61-67
  35. SPSS 2006: SPSS Base User's Guide 15.0. SPSS Inc., Chicago, 618 pp
  36. TELLEZ M.M. 2003: Contribucion a la mejora del control fitosanitario de dos especies de minadores, Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess) y Liriomyza bryoniae (Kaltenbach), (Diptera: Agromyzidae) en los cultivos de melon y tomate bajo plastico de la provincia de Almeria. PhD thesis. University of Granada (Spain), 242 pp
  37. TELLEZ M.M. & TAPIA G. 2005: Presencia y distribucion de Coenosia attenuata (Diptera: Muscidae), en las principales zonas de la Provincia de Almeria. Bol. San. Veg. Plagas 31: 335-341
  38. TORRES M.M., APARICIO V., MANZANARES C. & RODRIGUEZ M.P. 2002: Produccion integrada en cultivos horticolas bajo abrigo. Andalucia: criterios de intervencion y metodos de control de agentes nocivos respetuosos con la salud de personas y medio ambiente. Phytom. Esp. 135: 156-163
  39. TOSTOWARYK W. 1972: The effect of prey-defense on the functional response of Podisus modestus (Hem.: Pentatomidae) to densities of the sawflies Neodiprion swainei and N. pratti banksianae (Hym.: Neodiprionidae). Can. Entomol. 104: 61-69 Go to original source...
  40. TURKHEIMER F.E., HINZ R. & CUNNINGHAM V.J. 2003: On the undecidability among kinetic models: from model selection to model averaging. J. Cereb. Blood Flow Met. 23: 490-498 Go to original source...
  41. WANG B. & FERRO D.N. 1998: Functional responses of Trichogramma ostriniae (Hym: Trichogrammatidae) to Ostrinia nubilalis (Lep: Pyralidae) under laboratory and field conditions. Environ. Entomol. 27: 752-758 Go to original source...