Functional Response of Chrysoperla carnea (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) Larvae on Saissetia oleae (Olivier) (Hemiptera: Coccidae): Implications for Biological Control uri icon


  • Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) is a voracious predator of soft-bodied insects such as juveniles of scale insects and the black scale Saissetia oleae (Olivier) (Hemiptera: Coccidae) is an important pest of several crops, such as the olive tree. However, the predatory effciency of C. carnea on S. oleae has been unstudied yet. The present work aimed to study the functional response of larvae of C. carnea fed on S. oleae nymphs. In a controlled laboratory environment, increasing densities of S. oleae second and third nymph stages were offered to newly emerged specimens of the three larvae instars of C. carnea. After 24 h, the number of killed S. oleae was recorded and the functional response of C. carnea was assessed. The three larval stages of C. carnea displayed a type-II functional response, i.e., killed prey increased with higher S. oleae densities up to a maximum limited by the handling time. The attack rate did not significantly differ among the three instars while the maximum attack rate was significantly higher for the third instar. The handling time of the first larval instar of C. carnea was higher than that of the third instar. Our results demonstrated that S. oleae could act as a food resource for all larval stages of C. carnea. Furthermore, the third larval stage of the predator was the most effcient in reducing S. oleae densities. These results suggest that C. carnea larvae could contribute to S. oleae control in sustainable agriculture.
  • This research was funded by Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal), grant number UIDB/00690/2020. Abdelkader Meni Mahzoum was supported by Erasmus+ Programme, Mare Nostrum Project with reference 2016-1-PT01-KA107-022660. María Villa thanks FCT for the PostDoc grant SFRH/BPD/119487/2016

publication date

  • October 2020