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Rainforest habitat resistance to the migration of Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot (Acari: Phytoseiidae) in south-eastern Queensland

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Azam, M. G.N., Walter, D. E., Waite, G. K. and Hargreaves, J. R. (2005) Rainforest habitat resistance to the migration of Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot (Acari: Phytoseiidae) in south-eastern Queensland. Australian Journal of Entomology, 44 (1). pp. 52-56. ISSN 1326-6756

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-6055.2005.00427.x


This paper tests the hypothesis that habitat differences affect the migratory ability of the Chilean predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis, an introduced biological control agent of the spider mite, Tetranychus urticae. It is suggested that habitat resistance accounts for the species’ inability to invade rainforests in south-eastern Queensland, Australia. Like its prey, P. persimilis migrates to distant plants on air currents. To test our hypothesis, populations of the Chilean predatory mite were established on potted bean plants in both remnant rainforest and adjacent open fields, and their migration monitored using sticky traps. Overall it was found that prey populations on leaves were similar in both habitats, but those of predators were about 20% lower in rainforest. However, the numbers of both predators and prey caught on sticky traps in rainforest were about 6% and 25%, respectively, of those caught in open fields, indicating a strongly reduced rate of aerial migration in the forest. The number of P. persimilis caught on the sticky traps increased with increasing populations of predators on foliage. Thus, dense vegetation inhibits the movement of air currents and inhibits colonisation by both predators and, to a lesser extent, spider mites. These results suggest that the inhibition of aerial migration is one reason for lower numbers of P. persimilis in forest habitats, both because its own vagility is restricted, and because its prey is less able to disperse.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Science > Entomology
Plant pests and diseases > Pest control and treatment of diseases. Plant protection > Organic plant protection. Biological control
Live Archive:05 Feb 2024 01:03
Last Modified:05 Feb 2024 01:03

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