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Dispersal of Podisus nigrispinus (Het., Pentatomidae) nymphs preying on tomato leafminer: effect of predator release time, density and satiation level


Authors' address: J.B. Torres (corresponding author), DEPA-Fitossanidade, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Avenue Dom Manoel de Medeiros S/N, Dois Irmãos 52171–900 Recife, PE, Brazil. E-mail:


Abstract:  The dispersal potential of nymphal stinkbug, Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas, 1851) (Het., Pentatomidae) preying on larvae of the tomato leafminer Tuta absoluta (Meyrick, 1917) (Lep., Gelechiidae) was studied in an open-sided greenhouse. The parameters investigated were (1) the density of nymphs released per plant (one or five); (2) the release time (0600 and 1800 h); and (3) predator satiation level (satiated and 24-h-starved nymphs). Tomato plants were infested with larvae of the tomato leafminer (one third or fourth instar per leaf). The evaluations started 30 min after the release of predators second instar and hourly evaluations were carried out over 36 and 24 h for release times of 0600 and 1800 h, respectively. Starved nymphs released in the morning, either alone or in groups of five, dispersed faster than satiated nymphs. All of the starved individuals had left the plant by the end of the observation period, whereas 25 and 36% of the satiated nymphs released alone and in groups, respectively, stayed on the plant until the end of the observation period. Both satiated and starved nymphs showed slower rates of dispersal when released at 1800 h. Satiated nymphs delayed prey attack up to 9 h, whereas starved individuals started to attack T. absoluta caterpillars 1 h after their release at both densities. Our findings suggest more effective biological control of T. absoluta is possible with the release of second instar nymphs of P. nigrispinus when starved for 24 h prior to release and then released either in the morning or in the evening.

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