The ability of a natural enemy to tolerate starvation increases its chances to survive in the absence of food, what is an important factor for its success in storage grain environment. The objective of the present work was to assess the survival of Acarophenax lacunatus (Cross & Krantz) in the absence of food. The experiment used individualized physogastric females of A. lacunatus placed in petri dishes (5 cm diameter) and maintained at 20, 25, 28, 30 and 32ºC, 50 ± 5 % R.H. and 24h scotophase. The number of live mites was recorded every 6h thus assessing the progeny survival without food at different temperatures. The mites died within 60h at the temperatures 30ºC and 32ºC, while they survived for up to 108h at 20, 25 and 28ºC. The mean lethal time for death was 58.6h for the lowest temperatures and 39.3h for the highest temperatures. Thus, A. lacunatus subjected to starvation lived longer under lower temperatures, what is probably due to its lower metabolism. In contrast, the mites survived for about 90h at 28ºC, temperature commonly observed in tropical and subtropical climates, what may favor their use as control agents of stored product insects in these regions.
Acari; temperature; biological control; stored product