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Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology

Print version ISSN 1516-8913On-line version ISSN 1678-4324

Braz. arch. biol. technol. vol.48 no.5 Curitiba Sept. 2005 



Reproduction and longevity of Supputius cincticeps (Het.: Pentatomidae) fed with larvae of Zophobas confusa, Tenebrio molitor (Col.: Tenebrionidae) or Musca domestica (Dip.: Muscidae)



José Cola Zanuncio*; Eduardo Barbosa Beserra; Adrián José Molina-Rugama; Teresinha Vinha Zanuncio; Tobias Baruc Moreira Pinon; Vanessa Pataro Maffia

Universidade Federal de Viçosa; Departamento de Biologia Animal/Entomologia;; 36571-000; Viçosa - MG - Brasil




Reproduction and longevity of Supputius cincticeps (Stål) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) fed on Zophobas confusa Gebien, Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) or Musca domestica (L.) (Diptera: Muscidae) larvae were studied during two generations at 24.7 ± 1.1ºC, 70 ± 10% R.H. and 12 h of photophase. Body weight of newly-emerged adults, oviposition period, number of egg masses, total number of eggs and longevity of S. cincticeps were higher when fed on Z. confusa or T. molitor larvae than on M. domestica larvae. Regardless of diet, S. cincticeps showed better reproduction and longevity in the second generation in laboratory conditions.

Key words: Asopinae, predatory stinkbug, fecundity, alternative prey


Foram avaliadas, em duas gerações, a reprodução e a longevidade de Supputius cincticeps (Stål) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) alimentado com larvas de Zophobas confusa Gebien, Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) ou Musca domestica (L.) (Diptera: Muscidae) a 24,7 ± 1,1ºC, 70 ± 10% de U.R. e fotofase de 12 h. O peso de adultos recém emergidos, o período de oviposição, o número de posturas, de ovos totais e a longevidade de fêmeas de S. cincticeps foram maiores com larvas de Z. confusa ou T. molitor que com M. domestica. Independentemente do tipo de presa, S. cincticeps mostrou melhor performance reprodutiva e longevidade na segunda geração.




Predatory stinkbugs of the subfamily Asopinae are distributed worldwide in many ecosystems (Thomas 1992). In Brazil, they reach high densities during outbreaks of defoliator Lepidoptera in eucalyptus plantations (Zanuncio et al. 1994). These predators are considered important biological control agents, feeding upon different developmental stages of Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Diptera and Hemiptera (Zanuncio et al. 1994, De Clercq et al. 2002, Yocum and Evenson 2002, Lemos et al. 2003). Therefore, the biology, ecology, behavior and rearing methods of these natural enemies have been studied in order to improve their use in biological control programs (Westich and Hough-Goldstein 2001, Lemos et al. 2003, Medeiros et al. 2003).

Predatory Asopinae have been used in inundative and augmentative releases to suppress populations of herbivorous insects (Tipping et al. 1999). Since it is difficult to rear their natural preys in laboratory, it is necessary to have alternative ones with low cost, easy rearing and which permit high reproductive potential (Zanuncio et al. 1994, 2001, Lemos et al. 2003) and successive generations of these natural enemies (Hagen et al. 1976).

The use of adequate preys is important because they may affect development, reproduction and/or longevity of predatory insects (Zanuncio et al. 1997, 2001). Several prey species have been studied, in laboratory conditions, for predaceous pentatomids including pupae of Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) for Brontocoris tabidus (Signoret) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) (Zanuncio et al. 1996); caterpillars of Alabama argillacea (Huebner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) for Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) (Lemos et al. 2001, 2003) and larvae of Galleria mellonella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) for Podisus maculiventris (Say) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) (De Clercq et al. 1998).

Supputius cincticeps (Stål) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae), another Neotropical predator, is found in Brazilian eucalyptus plantations (Zanuncio T.V. et al. 1992). Researches with this natural enemy include studies aiming to establish its colonies in laboratory with preys or artificial diets (Zanuncio et al. 1996/1997). Didonet et al. (1996) studied thermal requirements to estimate the occurrence and to quantify the number of degree-days for S. cincticeps to complete its life span in natural conditions. Additionally, Assis Jr. et al. (1998) recommended the use of detached leaves of eucalyptus with prey to rear S. cincticeps in laboratory. This predator showed shorter nymph period and higher survival on Zophobas confusa Gebien (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) (Beserra et al. 1995). However, the reproductive capacity of S. cincticeps reared on this tenebrionid had yet to be investigated.

Thus, the objective of this research was to evaluate fecundity and longevity of S. cincticeps reared during two generations with Z. confusa, T. molitor or Musca domestica (L.) (Diptera: Muscidae) larvae and to determine the better prey to enhance reproductive capacity for augmentative rearing systems of this predator.



This research was carried out at the laboratory illuminated by four lamps of 40 watts at 24.7 ± 1.1ºC, 70 ± 10% R.H. and photophase of 12 hours.

Egg masses of S. cincticeps were obtained from a mass rearing facility of the Forest Entomology Laboratory, Department of Animal Biology (UFV) and conditioned in Petri dishes (9.0 x 1.5 cm) with moistened cotton wicks. Second instar nymphs were maintained in groups of 10 in these dishes and fed on Z. confusa, T. molitor or M. domestica larvae. Newly molted third instar nymphs were transferred to plastic cups (500 mL) and reared in these containers until adult stage, which were weighted and mated between three to five days post-emergence (Zanuncio et al. 2001).

Twenty-two couples of S. cincticeps for each prey and generation were fed with two third or fourth instar larvae of Z. confusa, two fifth instar T. molitor or with three days old M. domestica larvae "ad libitum". Specimens of Z. confusa were sent to the "Instituto de Biocências of the Universidade de São Paulo" for identification. Adult weight (mg), pre-oviposition, oviposition and post-oviposition periods, numbers of egg masses, eggs per egg mass and eggs besides egg viability (%) and longevity of females of S. cincticeps were evaluated for each female during two generations.

Data were submitted to the Lilliefors and Cochran and Bartlett tests to verify if they showed normal distribution and homogeneity of variance, respectively. When necessary, these data were transformed in or log (x + 1). The analysis of variance was performed considering an entirely casualized design arranged as a 3 x 2 factorial constituted by prey type and number of generations, respectively. Significant differences of means among treatments were determined using Scott-Knott test and evaluated at 5% probability. Individuals of S. cincticeps were deposited at the Entomology Museum of the UFV.



The analysis of variance showed no significant interactions between preys (Z. confusa, T. molitor or M. domestica) and the number of generations in laboratory (two) of S. cincticeps for the characteristics evaluated (Table 1). For this reason, results are presented and discussed as function of significance of simple effect.



Performance of Supputius cincticeps in different preys

Prey type did not affect pre-oviposition and post-oviposition periods and the number of eggs/egg mass of S. cincticeps (Table 1), but newly emerged adults (males and females) of this predator were heavier with larvae of Z. confusa or T. molitor than with those of M. domestica (Fig. 1a). The oviposition period (Fig. 1b), number of egg masses (Fig. 1c), total eggs per female (Fig. 1d), egg viability (Fig. 1e) and longevity of S. cincticeps (Fig. 1f) were similar with Z. confusa or T. molitor larvae, but higher than with those of M. domestica.



Performance of Supputius cincticeps after two generations

Adults of S. cincticeps were heavier in the second (F2) than in the first (F1) generation regardless of prey (Fig. 2a). Although pre-oviposition and post-oviposition periods (Fig. 2b) were longer in the F1, the oviposition period was similar between generations (Table 1). The number of egg masses (Fig. 2c) and total number of eggs per female (Fig. 2d) of S. cincticeps were higher in the F2, but the number of eggs per egg mass, egg viability and longevity of females of this predator were similar between generations (Table 1).




Performance of Supputius cincticeps with different preys

Weight of newly emerged adults of S. cincticeps was affected by the alternative preys used with males and females ca. 13% heavier when fed on Z. confusa or T. molitor than on M. domestica larvae. This suggested that larvae of the first two preys presented more nutrients (e.g., proteins) for nymphs of this predator, thus improving their development. These results were similar to those observed for P. maculiventris which had bigger body weight of newly-emerged adults when its nymphs were fed on T. molitor larvae than on Junonia coenia Hubner, Vanessa cardui (L.) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) or Manduca sexta (L.) (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) caterpillars (Strohmeyer et al. 1998). A positive correlation between the calorific value and larvae size of the alternative prey G. mellonella allowed obtaining heavier P. maculiventris females (Mukerji and LeRoux 1969). This helped to explain results obtained because larvae of both Tenebrionidae used were bigger than those of M. domestica. On the other hand this was not observed when comparing larvae of M. sexta and T. molitor (Strohmeyer et al. 1998), indicating that this should be done within the same species (Mukerji and LeRoux 1969, Santos et al. 1996). It was important to obtain heavier S. cincticeps females because predators such as P. nigrispinus and Podisus rostralis (Stål) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) also showed a direct relationship between body weight and fecundity (Mohaghegh et al. 1999, Zanuncio et al. 2002). Thus, the use of Z. confusa and T. molitor larvae as food allowed rearing adults of S. cincticeps with better quality. In addition, adults with higher body weight might have better chances to survive and suffer less under hostile conditions in the field such as periods of prey shortage (Molina-Rugama et al. 1998, Mohaghegh et al. 1999, Mourão et al. 2003).

Despite of the similarity that was found among the pre- and post-oviposition periods and the number of eggs/egg mass, with different alternative preys, the oviposition period, number of egg masses and total number of eggs per female of S. cincticeps had significantly lower values when reared on M. domestica larvae than on Z. confusa or T. molitor larvae.

These results showed direct relationship between body weight and fecundity of females of this predator and indirectly a possible better nutritional quality of larvae of both Tenebrionidae (Mohaghegh et al. 1999, Wittmeyer et al. 2001). Besides, the number of S. cincticeps nymphs hatched was ca. 20% lower on larvae of M. domestica than with the other preys. This may be attributed to the lower amount or poor quality of resources allocated by S. cincticeps females to form its egg masses when fed with larvae of housefly. This agrees with lower weight of the ovaries and quantity of fat bodies of P. nigrispinus females fed with M. domestica larvae (Lemos et al. 2003). Therefore, nymphs of predatory Pentatomidae fed with food of lower nutritional value will produce adults with reduced fertility (Wittmeyer et al. 2001). This shows a direct effect of the diet on total number of individuals produced by predatory Pentatomidae in the next generations. However, this negative impact tends to be overcomed or reduced when these natural enemies feed on better quality or different prey types (Wittmeyer et al. 2001, Zanuncio et al. 2001).

Longevity of S. cincticeps females was ca. 50% longer when reared on Z. confusa or T. molitor larvae compared to those on M. domestica larvae. This may also explain the higher fecundity showed by predators feeding on larvae of both Tenebrionidae because longer longevity allowed better chances for producing higher number of eggs. However, it differed with predator and prey used because this effect was not pronounced enough to reduce egg production and longevity of P. nigrispinus females fed on T. molitor and M. domestica larvae (Zanuncio, T.V. et al. 1996). Thus, the acceptance of prey and nutritional requirements of predatory stinkbugs should be considered in mass rearing programs of these natural enemies.

Performance of Supputius cincticeps after two generations

Adults of S. cincticeps were heavier in the second than in the first generation regardless of prey. This showed an increasing food assimilation and adaptation of this predator to preys used. This behavior explained the better reproductive performance of S. cincticeps with a reduction of ca. 18% in the pre-oviposition period and an increase of approximately 40% on number of egg masses and eggs produced in the second generation. Higher fertility and shorter post-oviposition period showed a good adaptation of S. cincticeps to preys used and to rearing in laboratory such as found for the predator P. nigrispinus (Mohaghegh et al. 1999).

To conclude, S. cinticeps could be produced in laboratory with the alternative preys Z. confusa or T. molitor to be released in programs of biological control of insects, because it showed adequate body weight and reproductive capacity with both preys. However, it is recommended to determine rearing costs of S. cincticeps and to choose the best prey to rear this predator with lower costs.



We thank the "Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq)", "Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES)", "Federação das Indústrias do Estado de Minas Gerais (FIEMG)" and "Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG)" for financial support to the authors. We also thank Sérgio A. Vanin of the "Instituto de Biociências da Universidade de São Paulo" for the identification of Zophobas confusa.



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Received: October 30, 2003;
Revised: April 28, 2004;
Accepted: September 21, 2004.



* Author for correspondence

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