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Oviposition Behavior of Pheropsophus aequinoctialis L. (Coleoptera: Carabidae): A Natural Enemy of Scapteriscus Mole Crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae)

Abstract

In the southeastern United States, South American Scapteriscus mole crickets are serious pests of turf and pasture grasses and vegetable seedlings. The larval stage of Pheropsophus aequinoctialis L. is a specialist predator of Scapteriscus mole cricket eggs and is currently under evaluation as a potential biological control agent. The objective of this study was to understand the oviposition behavior of P. aequinoctialis. The results indicated that in two-choice substrate oviposition arenas, female P. aequinoctialis significantly preferred to lay eggs in sand with mole cricket tunnels compared with artificially created tunnels or sand without tunnels. Physical tunnel presence influenced oviposition depth, but was not the only factor influencing oviposition. The reproductive strategy and behavior of P. aequinoctialis is discussed in relation to its specialized life history and to other carabid beetles displaying close host associations.

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Correspondence to Aaron S. Weed.

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Weed, A.S., Frank, J.H. Oviposition Behavior of Pheropsophus aequinoctialis L. (Coleoptera: Carabidae): A Natural Enemy of Scapteriscus Mole Crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae). J Insect Behav 18, 707–723 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10905-005-7021-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10905-005-7021-8

Keywords

  • specialist predator
  • Pheropsophus
  • Scapteriscus
  • oviposition
  • biocontrol
  • Carabidae