Interspecific Interactions Affect Pests Differently
Spider mites, Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae) and aphids, Myzus persicae (Sulzer) (Pterygota: Aphididae) share many host-plants, similar abiotic conditions and are world-wide distributed therefore, they often occur simultaneously in crops. However, the effects of interspecific interactions on the biology of these pests were poorly investigated. To test if they perform differently under intra- versus inter-specific interactions, host-plant acceptance, fecundity, survival, the total number of individuals and the rate of increase in the number of individuals were studied doing non-choice bioassays under laboratory conditions with leaf discs of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L. ‘Ailsa Craig’), pak choi (Brassica rapa L. var. chinensis ‘Black Behi’) and bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L. ‘Saxa’). Alone, the pests differently accepted the host-plants. The acceptance of pak choi by spider mites was lower under interspecific interactions and higher on tomato for aphids. In general, spider mites’ performance decreased when aphids were present; the fecundity, the number of individuals and the rate of increase being significantly lower on pak choi and bean. In contrast, aphids produced more offspring in the presence of spider mites, leading to a higher rate of increase in aphids individuals on tomato and pak choi. Thus, pest’ responses to interspecific interactions is species-specific.