Nitrogen fertiliser affects the functional response and prey consumption of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) feeding on cereal aphids

Aqueel, M.A. and Leather, S.R. (2012) Nitrogen fertiliser affects the functional response and prey consumption of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) feeding on cereal aphids. Annals of Applied Biology, 160 (1). pp. 6-15.

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Abstract

Predator–prey interactions are influenced by nitrogen availability. Wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. Solstice) plants were provided with four levels of nitrogen and examined the responses of coccinellid predator, Harmonia axyridis to cereal aphids, Rhopalosiphum padi and Sitobion avenae. Increased nitrogen application improved nitrogen contents of the plants and also the body weight of cereal aphids feeding on them. In no-choice feeding trials, H. axyridis consumed more aphids on low fertilised plants, suggesting a compensatory consumption to overcome reduced biomass (lower aphid size). Total biomass devoured by H. axyridis on all nitrogen fertiliser treatments was not statistically different. Logistic regression analysis of the proportion of prey consumed demonstrated that all developmental stages (larval and adult) of H. axyridis exhibited the type II functional response on all nitrogen fertiliser treatments. The rate of successful search (a′) of third and fourth instars and adults were the same across all fertiliser treatments suggesting that nitrogen fertilisation did not affect a′. Maximum handling time for the first instars of H. axyridis on R. padi (3.81 h−1) and S. avenae (4.59 h−1) was on the highest nitrogen treatment while minimum handling time was for the adults of H. axyridis on R. padi (0.20 h−1) and S. avenae (0.20 h−1) on the lowest nitrogen treatment. Handling time varied at varying fertiliser treatments within all instars and affected the predator's efficiency. The functional response curve, rate of successful search and handling time provide the information needed to understand the predator–prey interaction between H. axyridis and these cereals aphids. This could lead to the development of a better strategy for the biological control of R. padi and S. avenae at any particular level of nitrogen fertiliser regime in the field crops.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Crop and Environment Sciences
Depositing User: Mr Darren Roberts
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2018 21:45
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2018 11:39
URI: http://hau.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/16982

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