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Exp Appl Acarol. 2005;36(1-2):71-81.

Development and reproduction of Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Acari: Laelapidae) with fungus gnat larvae (Diptera: Sciaridae), potworms (Oligochaeta: Enchytraeidae) or Sancassania aff. sphaerogaster (Acari: Acaridae) as the sole food source.

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Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL 61820, USA.


Stratiolaelaps (=Hypoaspis) miles (Berlese) (Acari: Mesostigmata: Laelapidae) is a polyphagous soil-dwelling predatory mite that is widely marketed for use in greenhouse production systems to manage populations of dark-winged fungus gnats, Bradysia spp. (Diptera: Sciaridae) and for supplemental control of thrips. The suggestion by Walter and Campbell (2003, Biol. Control 26: 253-269) that North American commercial cultures of S. miles may actually be S. scimitus was confirmed. The development and reproduction at 21-23 degrees C of S. scimitus provided ad libidum with one of three different prey--the fungus gnat Bradysia aff. coprophila (Lintner), potworms (Enchytraeidae), or Sancassania aff. sphaerogaster (Zachvatkin, 1937) (Acari: Astigmata: Acaridae)--were compared. Developmental duration of the egg and non-feeding larval stages were 2.47 and 1.11 days, respectively; mortalities were 8.3 and 5.5%. Stratiolaelaps scimitus failed to develop beyond the protonymphal stage when provided with S. aff. sphaerogaster alone, although some feeding was observed. Development and reproduction of S. scimitus was successful on both fungus gnat larvae and enchytraeids, with no influence of prey on protonymphal duration (4.70 days) and mortality (8.3%), or on deutonymphal duration (4.61 days) and mortality (6.1%). Adult female S. scimitus feeding on potworms, compared to those feeding on fungus gnat larvae, had a significantly shorter pre-oviposition period (2.69 vs. 4.59 days). However, diet did not influence other adult female developmental or reproductive characteristics (oviposition period, 18.6 days; post-oviposition period, 6.2 days; total adult longevity, 27.3 days; total number of eggs, 26.5). S. scimitus reared on potworms tended (p = 0.06) to have a higher intrinsic rate of increase, a higher finite rate of increase and a shorter doubling time (rm = 0.142 day(-1), lambda = 1.153, Dt = 4.85 days) than those reared on fungus gnat larvae (rm = 0.105 day(-1), lambda = 1.110, Dt = 6.58 days), but differences in net reproductive rate (R0) and generation time (G) were not significant.

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