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Blattisocius keegani (Fox) is a predatory mite in the family Ascidae (Acari), noted for potential biological control of Coleopteran stored product pests. Performance of B. keegani on eggs of navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), was investigated. Mites completed development from egg to adult in 9.2±0.22 days at 25°C and 50-60% relative humidity, and in 6.33±0.29 days at 32.2°C, 30% relative humidity. Mites provisioned with three or five eggs consumed a median of 1.25 to 1.5 eggs, with a maximum of three eggs consumed over 24 h. Regression analyses indicated egg-laying by B. keegani was significantly correlated with the number of A. transitella eggs consumed, and female mites laid an average of 5.82±0.44 eggs over 72 h. Blattisocius keegani, developed on fresh and frozen eggs, laid significantly more eggs when provided with fresh eggs (F3,26=6.16, P=0.0026) and were able to develop on frozen Ephestia kuehniella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) eggs as an alternative host. Mites were equally fecund when fed eggs stored at 0° or -20°C. Provisioning of adult moth bodies in addition to egg prey items increased mite fecundity, although it was demonstrated that B. keegani are phoretic on adult moths as well. The results are the first experimental evidence of B. keegani as a predator of Lepidopteran eggs, as a phoretic species, and of their potential for biological control of navel orangeworm.
Department of Entomology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Bulletin of entomological research
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