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Neotropical Entomology

versión impresa ISSN 1519-566X

Neotrop. entomol. vol.40 no.5 Londrina sept./oct. 2011 



Record of Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) preying on Metrogaleruca obscura degeer (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)



LA Moura; J Grazia

Lab de Entomologia Sistemática, Depto de Zoologia, Univ Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil





Asopines are predators of insects, with several species with potential as biocontrol agents of a number of pests. Metrogaleruca obscura (Degeer), a neotropical species of Galerucini, was introduced in Malaysia, Asia, and Mauritius, Africa, to control the spread of Cordia curassavica (Boraginaceae), a native plant of the neotropics. The occurrence of Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) preying on M. obscura is recorded, and Cordia verbenacea (Boraginaceae) is mentioned as a host plant for M. obscura. A list of Chrysomelidae attacked by asopines in the neotropical region is also presented.

Keywords: Cordia, Heteroptera, black sage



Many chrysomelids are important as agricultural pests or beneficial biocontrol agents of weeds (Jolivet 1997). Metrogaleruca obscura (Degeer) belongs to a group that includes genera of interest to agriculture, such as Diabrotica, Acalymma and Cerotoma. This species was also reported as Schematiza cordiae Barber (Wilcox 1971). It occurs in the West Indies, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil (states of Amapá, Pará, Maranhão, Tocantins, Pernambuco, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul), Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina (province of Salta) (Wilcox 1971, Moura 2008).

Metrogaleruca obscura was successfully introduced in Malaysia (Simmonds 1980), Mauritius Islands (= Mauritius) and Africa (Ung et al 1979, Denoth et al 2002, Greathead 2003) to reduce the spread of Cordia curassavica (Boraginaceae), a native plant of the neotropics.

Reports on predation of neotropical chrysomelids by pentatomid asopines are scarce and restricted to the subfamilies Chrysomelinae, Galerucinae, Cassidinae and Criocerinae (Table 1), which have individuals that generally feed on host leaves. Most other subfamilies of Chrysomelidae have no records of asopines as predators, probably because their biology is poorly known. The information available is restricted to those species of economic interest of which larvae usually have subterranean and/or nocturnal habits or are protected by structures, such as a scatoshell or fecal shield (Cox 1996). They may present cicloalexy, a defensive behavior against predators in which larvae form a circle when resting to remain aggregated (Jolivet et al 1990).

Asopines prey mainly slow moving insects with soft body, primarily larvae of Lepidoptera (Medeiros et al 2003), Coleoptera and Hymenoptera. Specifically with regard to M. obscura, there are records of predation by Heteroscelis servillei Laporte (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in the West Indies (Callan 1948, Simmonds 1949, Herting 1973) and by Afrius williamsi Miller (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in Mauritius (Miller 1951, Tomas 1994).

This contribution aims to present a new record of predation of M. obscura and provide a list of chrysomelids that are preyed by asopines on the neotropics.

Specimens of M. obscura were collected in February 2008 at the Centro Pluridisciplinar de Pesquisas Químicas, Biológicas e Agrícolas (CPQBA), Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, state of São Paulo, Brazil, defoliating leaves of Cordia verbenacea (Boraginaceae). This plant, originally described from the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is distributed in Brazil (from Rio de Janeiro to Rio Grande do Sul states), Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina. It is popularly known as black sage and widely used as a medicinal plant with anti-inflammatory action.

Two asopine species were observed preying on individuals of M. obscura: H. servillei and Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas), with the first record of the last species preying on this chrysomelid beetle.

The potential medical importance of C. verbenacea makes necessary to study predators of M. obscura to reduce or eliminate damage caused by herbivory. Metrogaleruca obscura has been registred only in Cordia species as host plants.



To Centroflora (Botucatu, SP), for sending the material for identification. To Dr. A. Leyva for reviewing the English version of the manuscript. LAM and JG acknowledge the grant support of "Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico" - CNPq.



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Jocelia Grazia
Lab de Entomologia Sistemática
Depto de Zoologia, Univ Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
Av. Bento Gonçalves 9500, Bloco IV, Prédio
43435, 91501-970, Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil

Received on 25 October 2010 and accepted 19 April 2011



Edited by Madelaine Venzon - EPAMIG

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