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J Invertebr Pathol. 1998 May;71(3):236-47.

Implications of predator foraging on aphid pathogen dynamics.

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Department of Entomology and Nematology, Department of Statistics, IACR-Rothamsted, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.


The foraging behavior of starved and nonstarved second and fourth instar Coccinella septempunctata larvae on dead Acyrthosiphon pisum aphids, either infected with the entomopathogenic fungus Erynia neoaphidis (sporulating) or uninfected, was examined. Larvae searched for longer and fed less when presented with infected rather than uninfected A. pisum. Although no sporulating infected aphids were completely consumed, both adult and larval ladybirds can still be considered as intraguild predators. In a further study, fourth instar larvae fed on dying infected, dead infected (not sporulating), and dead uninfected aphids for similar periods of time but again the infected aphids were seldom entirely consumed. Live uninfected aphids were fed upon for significantly longer than any other prey. Infected aphids which were damaged at an early stage of infection (0, 1, or 2 days after inoculation) did not sporulate, whereas damaged moribund aphids (3 days after inoculation) did subsequently sporulate. Damaged sporulating cadavers continued to sporulate. However, damage to moribund and sporulating infected aphids, both mechanical or due to C. septempunctata feeding, reduced the number of conidia subsequently produced. Larval feeding caused the most significant reduction. Under laboratory conditions, C. septempunctata foraging on infected aphids did, therefore, reduce the pathogen density. However, conidia produced from a damaged cadaver resulted in levels of transmission to healthy aphids comparable to that resulting from an intact cadaver. Furthermore, the presence of a foraging adult ladybird resulted in a significant increase in transmission of the fungus to healthy aphids. Preliminary studies to assess the potential of other aphid natural enemies as intraguild predators illustrated that adults of the generalist carabid, Pterostichus madidus, entirely consumed sporulating cadavers. Third instar lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea, and hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus, larvae never fed on sporulating cadavers. The ecological implications of these results are discussed.

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