Reduced phytophagy in sugar‑provisioned mirids
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AuthorUrbaneja-Bernat, Pablo; Bru, Pablo; González-Cabrera, Joel; Urbaneja, Alberto; Tena, Alejandro
Cita bibliográficaUrbaneja-Bernat, P., Bru, P., González-Cabrera, J., Urbaneja, A., & Tena, A. (2019). Reduced phytophagy in sugar-provisioned mirids. Journal of Pest Science, 1-10.
Zoophytophagous mirids (Hemiptera: Miridae) are one of the most studied and successful group of natural enemies used as biological control agents in horticultural crops. When prey is scarce, some species, such as Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter), may damage plant tissue by increasing feeding on vegetative and reproductive organs. Despite the importance of mirids, the provision of a sugar source as an alternative or complement to plant feeding has never been addressed to reduce mirid phytophagy. Here, we analyzed the nutritional status and phytophagy of N. tenuis in the presence of tomato plants with and without sugar dispensers. Our study demonstrated how nymphs and adults obtained carbohydrates when fed on tomato plants. Phytophagy was reduced more than twofold with the provision of sugar dispensers. Both nymphs and adults contained higher carbohydrate levels when they had access to plants with sugar dispensers than without. Nymphs, which are generally responsible for more serious plant damage, had a higher content of carbohydrates than adults independently of the diet provided. Our findings contribute not only to improve the use of zoophytophagous predators as biological control agents, but also to understand the nutritional ecology of the Miridae, a group with a very diverse diet.