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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of tomato leaf hairiness on functional and numerical response of Neoseiulus californicus (Acari: Phytoseiidae).

The objective of this study was to determine whether differences in hairiness of tomato plants affect the functional and numerical response of the predator Neoseiulus californicus McGregor attacking the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch. Two tomato hybrids with different density of glandular hairs were used. The functional response was measured by offering eggs and adults of T urticae at densities ranging from 4 to 64 items per tomato leaflet (surface ca. 6.3 cm2); eggs were offered to predator protonymphs and deutonymphs, adult spider mites to adult predators. The number of spider mites eaten as a function of initial density was fitted to the disc equation. Predator densities were regressed against initial prey densities to analyze the numerical response. The number of eggs and adults of T. urticae eaten by N. californicus was extremely low in both hybrids. The nymphal stage of N. californicus and prey density had a significant effect on the number of T urticae eggs eaten by the predator, while hybrid had no effect. The functional response fitted reasonably well to the Holling model. The handling time (Th) and the attack rate (a) were very similar among the two hybrids. The numerical response indicated that the absolute density of predators increased with changes in spider mite densities but the relative predator/prey density decreased in both hybrids. Tomato hairiness prevented N. californicus from exhibiting a strong numerical response and the predator functional response was much lower than observed in other host plants and other phytoseiids. This result shows the need to consider plant attributes as an essential and interactive component of biological control practices.[1]


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