, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 205–213

Plantless rearing of the zoophytophagous bug Nesidiocoris tenuis

  • Veronic De Puysseleyr
  • Sofie De Man
  • Monica Höfte
  • Patrick De Clercq


Nesidiocoris tenuis Reuter (Heteroptera: Miridae) is widely distributed in the Mediterranean area, where it is used as an augmentative biological control agent of several pests. This zoophytophagous predator maintains a close relationship with its host plants using them not only to feed on, but also as an oviposition substrate. In the present study, a plantless rearing system was developed and developmental and reproductive parameters of bugs that had no access to plant material were compared with their counterparts living on plants. Eggs deposited in an artificial substrate took longer to develop and had lower hatching rates than those laid in tomato leaves. However, the biological parameters of nymphs that had hatched from the artificial substrate did not differ from those of nymphs that had emerged from plants, suggesting that, besides water, no essential nutrients are absorbed from the oviposition substrate during embryogenesis. Our results regarding the role of plant feeding indicate that water acquisition is the critical function of phytophagy in N. tenuis. In addition, supplementary nutrients derived from plants had a positive effect on adult weight and significantly enhanced survival in the absence of prey. Plantless rearing for five generations led to a prolonged preoviposition period and lower egg hatching rates and adult weights, but other developmental and reproductive parameters were not adversely affected. Our experiments suggest that prolonged plantless rearing of N. tenuis is possible provided that the mirid has access to a nutritionally superior food like Ephestia kuehniella eggs.


Nesidiocoris tenuis Predatory mirid Zoophytophagy Artificial oviposition substrate Biological control 


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Copyright information

© International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veronic De Puysseleyr
    • 1
  • Sofie De Man
    • 1
  • Monica Höfte
    • 1
  • Patrick De Clercq
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Crop ProtectionGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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