Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (2): 362-372, 2015 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2015.041

Development, reproduction, host range and geographical distribution of the variegated caper bug Stenozygum coloratum (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Pentatomidae)

Shahar SAMRA1,2, Murad GHANIM1, Alex PROTASOV1, Zvi MENDEL1
1 Department of Entomology, Volcani Center, P.O. Box 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel; e-mails: shaharsm@agri.gov.il; ghanim@agri.gov.il; protasov@agri.gov.il; zmendel@agri.gov.il
2 Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 76100, Israel

The variegated caper bug (CB) Stenozygum coloratum (Klug, 1845) is common in the Eastern Mediterranean region and a minor agricultural pest. CB eggs were recently shown to serve as alternative hosts for Ooencyrtus pityocampae Mercet, 1921, an important natural enemy of the pine processionary moth (PPM) Thaumetopoea wilkinsoni Tams, 1924 (Lepidoptera: Notodontidae). In this study various aspects of the life history of CB were studied, including its distribution, host range, development, reproduction and ability to develop on various cultivated species of plants. CB occurs in almost all areas and habitats in Israel, except in the coldest regions, attacking several caper species (Capparis spp.). When reared on Capparis zoharyi at 25°C, one generation lasted 6 weeks and females laid a single 12-egg cluster every 3 days. Decreases in temperature, but not changes in day length, terminated reproductive activity. CB nymphs survived for up to three months, or even completed their development, on some agricultural plants. However, reproductive activity was initiated only if adults were fed capers. These findings emphasize the importance of capers in the CB life cycle and account for why other plants are rarely attacked. These plants may serve as a temporary refuge for CB when capers are scarce or unsuitable, mainly late in the season. Morphology of developmental stages, egg deposition, cannibalistic behaviour, sex ratio and effects of temperature on egg production were also studied. The possibility of using CB for enhancing the biological control of PPM is discussed.

Keywords: Heteroptera, Pentatomidae, Stenozygum coloratum, Capparis spp., development, distribution, egg, host range, larva, Ooencyrtus pityocampae, pine processionary moth, Thaumetopoea wilkinsoni, variegated caper bug

Received: November 5, 2014; Accepted: January 20, 2015; Prepublished online: February 16, 2015; Published: April 2, 2015

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