Eur. J. Entomol. 113: 37-43, 2016 | 10.14411/eje.2016.004

Predation by Macrolophus pygmaeus (Hemiptera: Miridae) on Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphididae): Influence of prey age/size and predator's intraspecific interactions

Juliana DURÁN PRIETO1, Vincenzo TROTTA1, Paolo FANTI1, Cristina CASTAÑÉ2, Donatella BATTAGLIA1
1 Dipartimento di Scienze, Università degli studi della Basilicata, Viale dell'Ateneo Lucano 10, 85100 Potenza, Italy; e-mails: juliana.duran@unibas.it, vincenzo.trotta@unibas.it, paolo.fanti@unibas.it, donatella.battaglia@unibas.it
2 Department de Protecció Vegetal, IRTA, Centre de Cabrils, 08348 Cabrils, Barcelona, Spain; e-mail: cristina.castane@irta.es

Macrolophus pygmaeus (Hemiptera: Miridae) is an important predator of pests of horticultural crops and here its ability as a predator of Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is addressed for the first time. The percentage predation of the different aphid instars and the number partially consumed were studied. Our results, obtained using choice and no-choice tests, revealed that M. pygmaeus caught and consumed more young than later instars of A. pisum, which confirms results of previous studies using other species of aphids. We also studied the interactions between predators (male/female) foraging in the same patch. When the prey/predator ratio is kept constant at 10 : 1 the average percentage of aphids completely consumed by individual females or males does not change with increase in the number of foraging predators. However, the number of partially consumed aphids decreased when females shared the same patch. In contrast, there was an increase in the number of aphids partially consumed when two males shared the same patch. The results were discussed in terms of potential predator foraging strategies since intraspecific competition is a key factor modulating the dynamics of prey-predator systems.

Keywords: Hemiptera, Miridae, Macrolophus pygmaeus, Aphididae, Acyrthosiphon pisum, pea aphid, polyphagous predator, prey selection, partial prey consumption

Received: March 16, 2015; Accepted: September 9, 2015; Published online: January 8, 2016

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