Suitability of the tomato borer Tuta absoluta as prey for Macrolophus pygmaeus and Nesidiocoris tenuis
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The tomato borer, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lep.: Gelechiidae), is an important tomato pest native to South America, which appeared in eastern Spain at the end of 2006. Prey suitability of T. absoluta eggs and larval instars was examined under laboratory conditions to evaluate whether two indigenous predators, Macrolophus pygmaeus (Rambur) and Nesidiocoris tenuis Reuter (Hem.: Miridae), can adapt to this invasive pest. Both predators preyed actively on T. absoluta eggs and all larval stages, although they preferred first-instar larvae. Our results demonstrate that both mirids can adapt to this invasive pest, contributing to their value as biological control agents in tomato crops.