Print version ISSN 1519-566X
REIS, Paulo R.; SOUSA, Elber O.; TEODORO, Adenir V. and PEDRO NETO, Marçal. Effect of prey density on the functional and numerical responses of two species of predaceous mites (Acari: Phytoseiidae). Neotrop. Entomol. [online]. 2003, vol.32, n.3, pp. 461-467. ISSN 1519-566X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2003000300013.
Phytoseiidae mites are the most important and studied natural enemies of pest mites. A question frequently raised is whether phytoseiid may reduce high densities of phytophagous mites. Studies of functional and numerical responses may help to answer this question. The aim of this work was to evaluate the potential predation success of Iphiseiodes zuluagai Denmark and Muma and Euseius alatus DeLeon (Acari: Phytoseiidae) on Brevipalpus phoenicis (Geijskes) (Acari: Tenuipalpidae), vector of the citrus leprosis and the coffee ringspot viruses. Bioassays were performed in the laboratory. Adult females of each predator were isolated in arenas made with citrus leaves (3-cm diameter). Immature stages of B. phoenicis were offered as prey, at the following numbers/arena: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 30 and 35 (seven replicates), 45 (four replicates), 55 (three replicates) and 70, 100, 125, 200 and 300 (two replicates). The number of killed prey and of eggs laid by the predators was evaluated every 24h, during eight days. Killed prey was replaced daily by new prey. For both predatory mites, a positive and highly significant correlation was found between the numbers of prey offered and killed. The average daily oviposition rate also increased with the number of killed prey. At the lower densities, E. alatus killed and ate more B. phoenicis than I. zuluagai. The opposite was observed at the highest densities. It is possible that E. alatus can reduce B. phoenicis population even at low prey densities, and I. zuluagai can do the same also at high densities. The fact that E. alatus requires less prey than I. zuluagai suggests that its survivorship may be higher than that of I. zuluagai at low prey densities.
Keywords : Iphiseiodes zuluagai; Euseius alatus; Brevipalpus phoenicis; citrus; coffee plant.