A potential spider natural enemy against virus vector leafhoppers in agricultural mosaic landscapes - Corroborating ecological and behavioral evidence

Ferenc Samu, Orsolya Beleznai, Gergely Tholt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We intended to establish the potential for interaction between the wheat dwarf virus (WDV) vector leafhopper Psammotettix alienus - a dominant sap feeding pest in cereal fields, and the spider Tibellus oblongus - a dominant predator of grassy field margins. The relationship is important, because with the senescing and harvest of cereals P. alienus migrates to alternative host species, grasses. We analyzed the potential of T. oblongus to be an effective natural enemy of P. alienus by studying the probability of their co-occurrence seasonally and at the habitat and microhabitat scale. By gathering data from long term research (1994-2011) in six agricultural regions of Hungary, we assembled 96 one-year-long datasets obtained by suction sampling from the four key habitats of the agricultural landscape mosaic. The analysis showed that both in space and time the spider has the potential to prey on P. alienus. T. oblongus populations can reach considerable densities and represent high dominance among other spiders in the habitats of the leafhopper. Given this co-occurrence pattern, we devised laboratory experiments to study whether P. alienus is included among the preferred prey types of T. oblongus and to ascertain whether prolonged feeding has no adverse effects and provides the nutrients for growth. P. alienus proved to be both a preferred prey type and one that can be utilized for growth by the spider. This study collected the circumstantial ecological and direct laboratory feeding trial proofs that T. oblongus can be an important biological control agent against the leafhopper pest P. alienus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Control
Volume67
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2013

Keywords

  • Field margin
  • Leafhopper
  • Natural enemy
  • Predation
  • Prey preference
  • Spider
  • Virus vector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science

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