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Population Ecology

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 15–21 | Cite as

Migration of specialist insect predators to exploit patchily distributed spider mites

  • T. Shimoda
  • J. Takabayashi
SPECIAL FEATURE: ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Abstract

It is believed that specialist predators of spider mites often migrate by flight or aerial transport to exploit patchily distributed prey. The migration is an important factor in determining the seasonal occurrence of the predators in a field. Several species of specialist insect predators, such as Oligota kashmirica benefica (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) and Scolothrips takahashii (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), migrate between orchard trees and plants near the trees (e.g., groundcover, weeds, or windbreaks) to exploit abundant spider mites. This migration is at least partly triggered by prey scarcity in the original local habitats. Although these predators are tiny insects, they have flight abilities. For example, adult O. kashmirica benefica (body length, ∼1 mm) could move at least 5–16 m in one flight. Presumably, migration of the insect predators between prey-infested plants occurs mainly by flights. Predatory mites, such as Amblyseius fallacis and Amblyseius womersleyi (Acari: Phytoseiidae), migrated to spider mite-infested plants outside an orchard by aerial transport when they suffered from prey scarcity in the orchard. S. takahashii can use plant volatiles from lima bean plants induced by the spider mite Tetranychus urticae as cues for prey location during migration in Satsuma mandarin groves. However, it remains unknown how far from the trap boxes S. takahashii could respond to herbivore-induced plant volatiles in the groves.

Key words Flight Aerial transport Herbivore-induced plant volatiles Oligota kashmirica benefica Scolothrips takahashii Tetranychus urticae 

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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Shimoda
    • 1
  • J. Takabayashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Ecological Information, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan Tel. +81-75-753-6308; Fax +81-75-753-6312 e-mail: junji@kais.kyoto-u.ac.jpJP

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