- Use of odours by Cycloneda sanguinea to assess patch quality
- Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
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- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Adult ladybirds are likely to encounter various species of prey when foraging for oviposition sites.
Optimal oviposition theory predicts that females should lay eggs in those sites that are the most
suitable for offspring development. Therefore, factors that directly affect offspring mortality, such as the presence of predators and food, are expected to play an important role in the assessment of patch profitability by ladybird predators. Using a Y-tube olfactometer, we tested whether the predatory ladybird Cycloneda sanguinea L. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) can use volatile cues to assess patch profitability and avoid predator-rich patches. We assessed the foraging behaviour of C. sanguinea in response to odours associated with tomato plants infested with a superior prey, Macrosiphum euphorbiae Thomas (Homoptera: Aphididae), and with an inferior prey, Tetranychus evansi Baker and Pritchard (Acari: Tetranychidae), in the presence or absence of the heterospecific predator Eriopis connexa Mulsant (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Females of C. sanguinea significantly preferred plants infested by M. euphorbiae
to plants infested by T. evansi and avoided odours emanating from plants on which
E. connexa females were present. Our results show that C. sanguinea use volatile cues to
assess patch profitability and to avoid patches with heterospecific competitors or intraguild predators
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