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J Appl Toxicol. 2003 May-Jun;23(3):187-90.

Life history parameters of the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch) feeding on bean leaves treated with pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

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Department of Biology and Pharmaceutical Botany, Medical University of Warsaw, ul. Banacha 1, 02-097 Warsaw, Poland.


In this study we assess the effect of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) extracted from Lithospermum canescens on the biology of the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch). Lithospermum canenscens (Michaux) Lehm. (Boraginaceae) is a common prairie plant also known as Indian paint or hoary puccoon. A mixture of seven PAs with known chemical structures was used in this investigation. Mites treated with PAs showed a high mortality of juveniles, a decrease in female fecundity and a shortened longevity. The intrinsic rate of population increase (r(m)) was used as an indicator of T. urticae population performance after treatment with PAs. The r(m) value obtained with alkaloid-treated leaves was lower than that for mites developing on untreated leaves, which indicates that the mite population would develop much slower on treated plants. The results suggest that further studies should be performed to assess the possible use of PA extracts for spider mite control.

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