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Towards the on-farm conservation of the assassin bug Pristhesancus plagipennis (Walker) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) during winter using crop plants as refuges

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Grundy, P. R. and Maelzer, D. A. (2003) Towards the on-farm conservation of the assassin bug Pristhesancus plagipennis (Walker) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) during winter using crop plants as refuges. Australian Journal of Entomology, 42 (2). pp. 153-158. ISSN 1326-6756

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-6055.2003.00347.x


Habitat instability associated with seasonal crop succession in broad-acre farming systems presents a problem for the conservation and utilisation of beneficial insects in annual field crops. The present paper describes two experiments used to measure the potential of seven plant species to be utilised as winter refuges to support and conserve the predatory bug Pristhesancus plagipennis (Walker). In the first experiment, replicated plots of canola (Brassica napus), red salvia (Salvia coccinea), niger (Guizotia abyssinica), linseed (Linum usitatissimum), lupins (Lupinus angustifolius), and lucerne (Medicago falcata) were planted in a randomized experiment during Autumn 1998. Upon crop establishment, adults and nymphs of P. plagipennis were released into treatment plots and their numbers were assessed, along with those of their potential prey, throughout the ensuing winter months. Post-release sampling suggested that canola and niger retained a proportion of adult P. plagipennis, while niger, lucerne and canola retained some nymphs. The other plant species failed to support P. plagipennis nymphs and adults postrelease. In the second experiment, niger was compared with two lines of sunflower (Helianthus annus). Both sunflower lines harboured significantly higher (P < 0.05) densities of P. plagipennis nymphs than did niger. The more successful refuge treatments (sunflower, niger and canola) had an abundance of yellow flowers that were attractive to pollinating insects, which served as supplementary prey on which P. plagipennis were observed to feed. Sunflower and niger also supported high densities of the prey insect Creontiades dilutus (Stål) and provided protective leafy canopies which supplied shelter during the winter months. The potential and limitations for using each plant species as a winter refuge to retain P. plagipennis during winter are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Science > Entomology
Animal culture > Insect culture and beneficial insects
Live Archive:29 Jan 2024 01:19
Last Modified:29 Jan 2024 01:19

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