Effects of temperature on the establishment potential in the U.K. of the non-native glasshouse biocontrol agent Macrolophus caliginosus


Andrew J. Hart. Tel.: + 44 (0)121 4145908;  fax: + 44 (0)121 4145925; e-mail: andrew.hart@hri.ac.uk


Abstract This study investigated the effect of temperature on the development and winter survival of the predatory mirid Macrolophus caliginosus Wagner, recently introduced into the U.K. as a biocontrol agent for glasshouse whitefly Trialeurodes vaporariorum. The developmental threshold for M. caliginosus calculated by three methods was between 7.3 and 8.4 °C, with a day-degree requirement per generation varying between 472 and 524 day-degrees. It was estimated that under outdoor conditions M. caliginosus could complete two generations per year in the U.K. All life stages of M. caliginosus had supercooling points around −20 °C, with some pre-freeze mortality evident in both acute and chronic low temperature exposures. Acclimation increased survival of nymphal M. caliginosus from approximately 24–52 days when exposed to a constant 0 °C. Provision of prey extended survival of nymphs in the laboratory at a constant 5 °C from 39 to 64 days and in the field by c. 150 days. The results are discussed in the context of the occurrence and establishment of M. caliginosus in the U.K. and the need to develop a reliable risk assessment system for non-native species used in glasshouse biocontrol.