, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 115-121

Tomato stem trichomes and dispersal success ofPhytoseiulus persimilis relative to its preyTetranychus urticae

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Tomato varieties used at present for commercial production in Dutch glasshouses have a high density of glandular trichomes on the stem, but a very low density on the leaves. The two-spotted spider mite,Tetranychus urticae Koch, and the predatory mite,Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot, usually disperse from leaf to leaf via the stem, thereby incurring high risks of entrapment (and death) in the exudate of the glandular trichomes. These risks have been quantified on the tomato cv. ‘Turbo’ and an accession ofLycopersicon peruvianum almost free of glandular trichomes. The possible consequences for biological control are discussed and new perspectives for predator release strategies and for plant breeding are considered.