Predatory ability of the ant Crematogaster scutellaris on the brown marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys

Abstract

The pest Halyomorpha halys is a recent example of severe worldwide biological invasion. In Italy, after the first detection in 2012, it has rapidly spread and economic damage has already been reported in commercial fruit orchards, eliciting enormous concern for Italian agricultural production. As a long-term solution, biological control investigations are focusing on the potential of natural antagonists, such as generalist predators, in the invaded areas. Due to their biology, ecology and behavior, ants represent one such generalist predator potentially suitable for inflicting mortality on H. halys. In this research, Crematogaster scutellaris was used as a study model. Specifically, the effect of ant predatory behavior on the survival of all H. halys pre-imaginal stages was tested in the laboratory environment. The results suggest that C. scutellaris has a significant predatory impact on all H. halys pre-imaginal stages except for eggs. The reduction of survivorship is between 95 and 85% for instars 1 and 2 and between 38 and 52% for instars 3, 4 and 5. The different levels of predation success suggest that these ants could act as useful generalist predators when associated with other antagonists and/or other control strategies. Although further field investigations are needed, the potential of ants as biocontrol agents of invasive species in agroecosystems deserves consideration in integrated pest management programs.

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Acknowledgements

This research has been supported by grants from University of Parma (UNIPR) assigned to Prof. A. Mori (FIL-2016) and Prof. D.A. Grasso (FIL-2015). The authors are grateful to Dr Karen E. Wells for English editing and to the reviewers for the valuable suggestions and the revision of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Cristina Castracani.

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Special Issue: The brown marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys an emerging pest of global concern.

Communicated by T. Haye.

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Castracani, C., Bulgarini, G., Giannetti, D. et al. Predatory ability of the ant Crematogaster scutellaris on the brown marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys . J Pest Sci 90, 1181–1190 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-017-0889-1

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Keywords

  • Generalist predators
  • Invasive species
  • Natural antagonists
  • Cooperative predatory response
  • Integrated pest management
  • Biological control