Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (1): 143-146, 2014 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2014.015

Pollen resources used by Chrysoperla agilis (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) in the Azores, Portugal

Leila NUNES MORGADO, Roberto RESENDES, Mónica MOURA, Maria A. MATEUS VENTURA
CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratório Associado, Pólo Açores, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade dos Açores, Rua da Mãe de Deus, Apartado 1422, 9501-801, Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal, e-mails: leilamorgado@uac.pt; roberesendes@uac.pt; moura@uac.pt; mateus@uac.pt

There are approximately 1200 described species of Chrysopidae, many of which are predators of agricultural pests. Species of Chrysoperla are mass-produced and sold for use as biological control agents of agricultural pests in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Chrysoperla agilis, a member of the "carnea group" of Chrysoperla, has the potential to be biocontrol agent and is native to the Azores, and therefore a local candidate for use in IPM of pests, such as aphids and scale insects. Given that many adult Chrysopidae feed on pollen and honeydew and the biology of Ch. agilis is not well understood, we studied the preferences of Ch. agilis adults living in a greenhouse on the campus of the University of the Azores for feeding on different types of pollen. Twenty-six species of flowering plants, belonging to 16 families and 24 genera, all previously recorded on Sao Miguel Island, were found in the greenhouse. Pollen grains from each species were collected and incorporated in a reference catalogue. Additionally, 40 adults of Ch. agilis were collected (20 in December 2012 and 20 in January 2013) and the pollen in guts identified. Of the 26 species of plants in the greenhouse 14 were used as sources of pollen by the lacewings. Pollen of Plantago lanceolata L. was the most frequently recorded pollen in the gut contents. The adults of this chrysopid fed mainly on the pollen of species of plants belonging to the Asteraceae, Plantaginaceae and Poaceae. The species richness (S = 12), diversity index (H' = 2.123) and equitability (J' = 0.8543) of the January sample are greater than those of the December sample. Similarity of the samples collected in the 2 months was 0.75. From these results we infer that it is important to maintain or increase plant biodiversity in agroecosystems as weeds provide trophic resources for insects that are beneficial to agriculture.

Keywords: Neuroptera, Chrysopidae, Chrysoperla agilis, beneficial insect, Azores Archipelago, foraging behavior, palynology, trophic resources

Received: May 22, 2013; Accepted: August 30, 2013; Published: January 9, 2014

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