Reproduction and longevity of the predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) and its prey, Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae) on different host plants

David R. Gillespie, D. J. M. Quiring


The biological control of twos potted spider mites by the predator Phytoseiulus persimilis is usually unsuccessful on greenhouse tomato crops in British Columbia. Experiments were conducted to determine the influence of host plant on the longevity and reproduction of the predator, and on the suitability of twospotted spider mites as prey. Lifespan and reproduction of P. persimilis were lower on tomato leaves than on bean leaves but feeding on spider mites that had been reared on tomato or bean leaves had no effect on the reproduction or lifespan of P. persimilis. A strain of twospotted spider mites that came from an outbreak on a greenhouse tomato crop lived for shorter periods and laid fewer eggs when confined on tomato leaves than on bean leaves. A strain of twospotted spider mites that had been maintained on bean leaves was unable to reproduce on tomato leaves. Exudates from glandular hairs were toxic to P. persimilis. Glandular hairs are important in pest management on tomato crops. Their removal through breeding might make plants more susceptible to herbivores. Therefore it would be preferable to develop other methods for biological control of twospotted spider mites on tomato.

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