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Neotropical Entomology

Print version ISSN 1519-566X

Neotrop. entomol. vol.39 no.3 Londrina May/June 2010 



Green lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) associated with Melon Crop in Mossoró, Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil



Carlos E S BezerraI; Patrícia K A TavaresI; Luciano P M MacedoII; Sérgio de FreitasIII; Elton L AraujoI

IDepto de Ciências Vegetais, Univ Federal Rural do Semi-Árido, CP 137, 59625-900 Mossoró, RN, Brasil;;;
IIInstituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande do Norte, RN 118, Zona Rural, 59508-000 Ipanguaçu, RN, Brasil;
IIIFaculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias de Jaboticabal, FCAV/UNESP, Via de Acesso Prof Paulo Donato Castellane s/n, 14884-900 Jaboticabal, SP, Brasil;




A survey of the green lacewings associated with the melon agroecosystem was carried out with the aim of including lacewings into the integrated management program of melon pests. Three species of this predator were found: Ceraeochrysa cubana (Hagen), Chrysoperla externa (Hagen) and Chrysoperla genanigra Freitas. A key to these species is presented.

Key words: Semiarid, predator, Chrysoperla, Ceraeochrysa



The municipality of Mossoró, located in the semiarid region of Rio Grande do Norte State is one of the largest melon producers and exporters in Brazil. This makes melon production one of the main segments of agribusiness in the state (Agrianual 2007). However, the expansion of cultivated areas has brought about increases in phytosanitary problems, which became limiting factors to production. Among these problems, pest insects and the damage caused to melon production are a main concern (Araujo et al 2007). The major pests of melon in the Northeast semiarid region are the leafminer Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess) (Diptera: Agromyzidae) and the whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) biotype B (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) (Guimarães et al 2008). In recent natural enemy surveys on melon cropping in Mossoró, the presence of lacewings was noticed (Araujo et al 2008). Lacewings are known for their predatory efficiency, ability of their larvae to seek out for food, for being generalists and for having a high survival rate in agroecosystems (Canard & Principi 1984). However, knowledge on which species occur within melon crop is scanty, particularly in the Brazilian Northeastern region. Only two species were reported associated to the melon crop in RN: Ceraeochrysa sanchezi (Navás) in Assu (Freitas & Penny 2001) and Chrysoperla genanigra Freitas in Mossoró (Freitas 2003). This study aimed at knowing and presenting a key to the lacewing species associated to this agroecosystem in Mossoró, RN.

Collections were performed during the annual peak in melon production, between August 2007 and January 2008, in the Pau-Branco area of Mossoró (4º54'21.61"S and 37º22'1.41"W). Monthly collections were carried out using entomological net and entomological aspirator. The collected specimens were separated into morphospecies and stored in ethanol at the Laboratory of Entomology of the Universidade Federal Rural do Semi-Árido (UFERSA), Mossoró, RN. Subsequently, the specimens were identified according to Freitas & Penny (2001) and Freitas (2003) at the Laboratory of Entomology of the Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias (FCAV/UNESP), Jaboticabal, SP. Specimens were deposited at FCAV/UNESP and at UFERSA.

A total of 315 lacewings were collected, belonging to three species: Ceraeochrysa cubana (Hagen), collected from August through September, Chrysoperla externa (Hagen), from August through November, and C. genanigra, from September to January. The latter was described in 2003 and to date is reported only in this Northeastern region (Freitas 2003). Chrysoperla genanigra is very similar to the other Chrysoperla species in Brazil and is the only one with a black spot on the gena. This is the first record of C. cubana and C. externa in Mossoró, RN. The occurrence of three lacewing species in melon cropping, and the presence of at least one species throughout the cultivation period sampled, indicates the potential utility of these predators in future pest management programs for melon.

Key to the Species of Chrysoperla and Ceraeochrysa Found in Melon Cropping in Mossoró, RN


Pseudopenis absent; pronotum without red marks (Chrysoperla) ....................... .......................................................................................................... 2


Gonapsis elongate; two hornlike structures on gonarcus or arcessus (Ceraeochrysa) .................................................................................... 3


Gena with black spot (Fig 1b) ...................................... Chrysoperla genanigra


Gena with red spot (Fig 1a); Male arcessus only weakly decurved


Scape with dark red, thin stripe dorso-laterally (Fig 1c); flagellum pale; wings venation green with black crossveins; gonarcus with dorso-medial projection; gonosaccus with several large gonocristae ..................... Ceraeochrysa cubana



We thank Janisete Gomes da Silva-Miller for reviewing and commenting on an early version of this manuscript, and CAPES for the scholarship provided to CESB.



AGRIANUAL - Anuário da agricultura brasileira (2007) Instituto FNP, 520p.         [ Links ]

Araujo E L, Fernandes D R R, Geremias L D, Filgueira M A, Guimarães J A, Mesquita A L L, Braga Sobrinho R (2008) Controle biológico de pragas do meloeiro, p.201-206. In Braga Sobrinho R, Guimarães J A, Freitas J A D, Terão D (eds) Produção integrada de melão. Fortaleza, Embrapa, 338p.         [ Links ]

Araujo E L, Fernandes D R R, Geremias L D, Menezes Netto A C, Filgueira M A (2007) Mosca minadora associada à cultura do meloeiro no semi-árido do Rio Grande do Norte. Rev Caatinga 20: 210-212.         [ Links ]

Canard M, Principi M M (1984) Life histories and behavior, p.57-149. In Canard M, Séméria Y, New T R (eds) Biology of Chrysopidae. Boston, The Hague, W. Junk Publishers, 308p.         [ Links ]

Freitas S (2003) Chrysoperla Steinmann, 1864 (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae): descrição de uma nova espécie do Brasil. Rev Bras Entomol 47: 385-387.         [ Links ]

Freitas S, Penny N D (2001) The green lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) of Brazilian agro-ecosystems. Proc Calif Acad Sci 52: 245-395.         [ Links ]

Guimarães J A, Braga Sobrinho R, Azevedo F R, Araujo E L, Terão D, Mesquita A L M (2008) Manejo integrado de pragas do meloeiro, p.183-199. In Braga Sobrinho R, Guimarães J A, Freitas J A D, Terão D (eds) Produção integrada de melão. Fortaleza, Embrapa, 338p.         [ Links ]



Received 15/VII/09.
Accepted 13/XI/09.



Edited by Roberto A Zucchi - ESALQ/USP

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