Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 20, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The silverleaf whitefly has become a major worldwide pest in recent years, causing economic damage to an unusually wide variety of field and greenhouse crops. A large research effort is underway to identify natural enemies that could be used to manage this pest, thus minimizing the use of pesticides. A naturally-occurring predaceous insect, Deraeocoris nebulosus, ,was found to readily complete its development from egg to adult using whiteflies as its only food. Using whiteflies as prey, the reproductive potential of this small insect was greater than that recorded for any other related species. Thus, the results of these experiments are promising and show that this insect has potential in managing whiteflies.
The developmental and reproductive biology of the native predaceous mirid Deraeocoris nebulosus was studied in the laboratory using immatures of the whitefly Bemisia argentifolii as prey. Nymphs were kept individually in ventilated petri dishes and provided with a constant supply of prey colonized on excised sweet potato leaves rooted in hydroponic solution and kept at 27 degrees C. Females were kept similarly and daily egg productio was recorded. There were five nymphal instars. Mean development from first instar to adult was 13.25 d; there were no significant differences in development rate between the sexes. After a 2-3 d preoviposition period, females produced about 10-14 eggs per day for nearly 20 days before oviposition rate declined with age. Females lived an average of 32.8 d (range 3 - 58 d), and mean fecundity was 242.3 eggs per female (range 0 - 392).