Ambulatory and aerial dispersal among specialist and generalist phytoseiid mites Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xk81jp61p

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  • Specialist and generalist phytoseiid mites are widely used for biological control of spider mites. Understanding dispersal attributes of these mites is important to implementing more stable, cost-efficient integrated pest management. In this regard, we studied dispersal of phytoseiid mites from a local ambulatory phase of movement within a prey patch to a longer-range phase that includes emigration (aerial take-off and dispersal distance) and immigration to a new plant. Specialist phytoseiids showed higher ambulatory and aerial dispersal than generalist species. Somewhat different dispersal strategies were seen between Neoseiulus fallacis (more specialized predator) and N. calfornicus (more generalized predator): The most important difference was earlier and continuous dispersal of N. californicus from a prey patch. Cues from spider mite infestation suppressed the dispersal rates for specialists, but either increased or did not change the dispersal rates for generalist phytoseiids. Aerodynamic calculations support the hypothesis that Phytoseiulus persimilis may not require a standing take-off behavior to become airborne. However, with less vertical profile, a mite may become airborne more by standing erect (N. fallacis), than a species that does not show standing take-off (N. calfornicus). Jumping behavior by P. persimilis was observed for the first time among Phytoseiidae. Falling speed ranged from 0.4 to 0.73 m/s for 13 phytoseiid species and 0.79 to 0.81 for two-spotted spider mite. These values were quite similar to theoretical estimates for specialist phytoseiids, but less for generalists. From falling speed estimates and other morphological data, it was possible to predict aerial dispersal distance of phytoseiids using analytical models. After landing on bare soil following aerial dispersal, high mortality of N. fallacis was observed in the field during summer. Distance from the landing point to target plants showed negative log linear relationships. Soil surfaces and management actions influenced survival and recovery. Environmental conditions greatly affected survival of the predator. We speculated that phytoseiids that fell on ground were moving to the target plants via both ambulatory and aerial means.
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