Eur. J. Entomol. 114: 400-406, 2017 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2017.051

Effect of nutritious and toxic prey on food preference of a predaceous ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Mushtaq A. GUROO1, Ahmad PERVEZ2,*, Kuldeep SRIVASTAVA1, Rakesh K. GUPTA1
1 Division of Entomology, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu - 180009, Chatha, Jammu and Kashmir, India; gurookvk@gmail.com, kuldeep.ipm@gmail.com, rkguptaentoskuast@gmail.com
2 Biocontrol Laboratory, Department of Zoology, Radhey Hari Govt. P.G. College, Kashipur, US Nagar - 244713, Uttarakhand, India; e-mail: ahmadpervez@yahoo.com

We investigated the predatory potential and food preference of different life stages of Coccinella septempunctata L. for a nutritious aphid (mustard aphid, Lipaphis erysimi) and toxic aphid (cabbage aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae). We provided all the life stages of C. septempunctata with either L. erysimi or B. brassicae and found that the second, third and fourth instar larvae and adult females of this predator consumed daily greater numbers of L. erysimi. However, the first instar larvae and adult males consumed similar numbers of both of these aphids. In choice condition, each larva, adult males and females were each provided separately with a mixed aphid diet in three proportions (i.e. low: high, equal: equal and high: low densities of L. erysimi: B. brassicae). We hypothesized that life stages of C. septempunctata will prefer L. erysimi regardless of its proportions. Laboratory experiments supported this hypothesis only at the adult level in terms of high values of β and C preference indices. However, it rejects this hypothesis at the larval level, as larvae preferred B. brassicae when provided with certain combinations and showed no preference in a few combinations. We infer that mixtures of nutritious and toxic aphids may enable this ladybird to overcome any probable nutritional deficiency and/or reduce the toxicity of a toxic diet, especially for the larvae. Results of the treatment in which a high proportion of B. brassicae were consumed along with fewer L. erysimi indicates that a mixed diet could be better for the development of immature stages of C. septempunctata.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Coccinellidae, Coccinella septempunctata, predatory potential, prey preference, Lipaphis erysimi, Brevicoryne brassicae

Received: February 1, 2017; Accepted: September 14, 2017; Published online: October 9, 2017

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