Eur. J. Entomol. 113: 345-351, 2016 | 10.14411/eje.2016.045

Partial consumption of different species of aphid prey by the predator Macrolophus pygmaeus (Hemiptera: Miridae)

Dionyssios LYKOURESSIS, Dionyssios PERDIKIS*, Ioannis MANDARAKAS
Laboratory of Agricultural Zoology and Entomology, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, 118 55 Athens, Greece; e-mails: lykouressis@aua.gr, dperdikis@aua.gr

The partial consumption of prey refers to when a predator does not consume all the digestible biomass of an animal it has killed. The frequency of partial consumption of prey by the polyphagous predator Macrolophus pygmaeus (Hemiptera: Miridae) was recorded for different species of prey and prey population structures, in single and mixed prey species patches. All the instars of the aphid, Aphis gossypii, were provided as prey alone or together with Myzus persicae or Macrosiphum euphorbiae. Numbers killed were determined when equal (10 nymphs of each instar, 40 in total) or unequal numbers (higher numbers of young nymphs but again 40 in total) of nymphs were placed on an eggplant leaf in a plastic Petri dish. In each dish a single 5th instar nymph of the predator was introduced and the numbers killed and numbers of partially consumed aphids were recorded after 24h, at 25 ± 1°C. The numbers of A. gossypii killed were higher than those of the other species of prey used. The frequency of partially consumed prey was highest when A. gossypii was offered alone in equal numbers of each instar, followed by when A. gossypii was provided together with M. persicae in unequal numbers of instars (23.6% and 11.2%, of the total mortality, respectively). Killed but not consumed prey was also recorded, at frequencies that reached 10.7% of the total mortality when A. gossypii was provided alone in equal numbers of each instar. For M. persicae and M. euphorbiae, these percentages were significantly lower. The higher frequency of this behaviour when A. gossypii was the prey may be related to its lower nutritional quality for the predator. The effect of prey instar was not significant. These results indicate that in determining the numbers killed by a predator, partially consumed prey may make up a significant part of the total kill and thus should be taken into consideration.

Keywords: Heteroptera, Miridae, Macrolophus pygmaeus, Sternorrhyncha, Aphididae, Aphis gossypii, Macrosiphum euphorbiae, Myzus persicae, predation, biological control, superfluous killing, wasteful killing

Received: September 1, 2015; Accepted: March 23, 2016; Published online: April 26, 2016

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