Authors: JOSE BRUNO MALAQUIAS, FRANCISCO DE SOUSA RAMALHO, JEFFERSON VIRGINIO SILVA SOUZA, KARJOENE CASSIMIRO VIEIRA RODRIGUES, PAULO ALVES WANDERLEY
Abstract: The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) leaves as food on development, survival, and reproduction in Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas). Newly hatched P. nigrispinus nymphs were used in this study. The prey consisted of 3rd-instar Alabama argillacea (Huebner) larvae. Fennel and cotton leaves were not sufficient to enable the full development of the predator to its adult stage. It was verified that 35% of the nymphs that fed on cotton leaves and water, and 31% of the nymphs that fed on fennel leaves and water completed their 2nd instar in 5.68 days and 6.30 days, respectively, while nymphs from the 1st instar that had a water diet did not complete their 2nd instar and achieved 4.12 days of longevity. The high fecundity in the P. nigrispinus females fed fennel or cotton leaves was mainly due to an increase in the number of egg clutches per female, which resulted in greater egg production, when compared to females that did not have plants in their diet. Phytophagy could make P. nigrispinus an efficient agent for the biological control in intercropping systems of cotton with fennel.
Keywords: Fennel, feeding, Asopinae, behavior, predator
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