Comparative life-history traits of three phytoseiid mites associated with Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae) colonies in clementine orchards in eastern Spain: implications for biological control
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The management of Tetranychus urticae, a key pest of clementine trees, is mainly based on the use of acaricides. However, more environmentally safe measures, such as biological control, are being encouraged. Life-history traits of the three most abundant phytoseiid mites associated with T. urticae on this crop (Euseius stipulatus, Phytoseiulus persimilis and Neoseiulus californicus) were studied. The experiments were performed under laboratory conditions (25 degrees C, 80 +/- 5% RH and 16:8 h (L:D)) on clementine leaves and T. urticae as prey. Euseius stipulatus could not complete its life cycle, whereas P. persimilis and N. californicus completed it satisfactorily. The estimated intrinsic rate of increase (rm) was significantly higher for P. persimilis (0.344 day(-1)) than for N. californicus (0.244 day(-1)) and both were higher than the rm value of T. urticae on clementine leaves. Implications of these results for the biological control of T. urticae in this crop are discussed.