- Females as intraguild predators of males in cross-pairing experiments with phytoseiid mites
- Experimental and Applied Acarology
- Volume | Issue number
- 61 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Studies on intraguild interactions between phytoseiid species have shown that intraguild predation occurs and is most commonly manifested as adult females of one species feeding on juveniles of another. Whether such intraguild interactions can also occur between adult females of one species and adult males of another, is not known. Herein, we report on intraguild interactions between adults of the two sexes in cross-pairing experiments involving three related phytoseiid species (Neoseiulus paspalivorus, N. baraki and N. neobaraki) that are potential candidates for controlling the coconut mite Aceria guerreronis, a serious pest of coconut palms in tropical countries. For comparative reasons, the experiments were repeated with larvae instead of males, and with only males or only females of two different species together. In the presence of an ample supply of prey, females of N. neobaraki never fed on individuals of their own species, yet appeared to be very aggressive against males, as well as larvae of the other two phytoseiid species. They also fed on females of N. paspalivorus, but rarely on females of N. baraki. Males of N. neobaraki did not suffer mortality when together with females of either of the two other phytoseiid species. Males of N. baraki did not suffer predation from females of N. paspalivorus, but males of N. paspalivorus suffered some mortality (15 %) from N. baraki females. Larvae of each of the three species were vulnerable to intraguild predation by heterospecific adult females, except for N. neobaraki larvae when together with N. baraki females. The absence or presence of intraguild predation is largely explained by the size ratios of the individuals that were put together: large individuals feed on smaller ones, but never the reverse. For each sex, size declines in the following order: N. neobaraki > N. baraki > N. paspalivorus. Moreover, for each species, females are larger than males and males are larger than larvae. Strikingly, however, females did not kill males and larvae of their own species. We propose that niche competition between related phytoseiid species is not only determined by intraguild predation on heterospecific larvae, but also by imposing great mortality on males from the intraguild prey because phytoseiid females being pseudo-arrhenotokous require insemination to produce offspring of both sexes.
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