Feeding potential of the predatory ladybird beetle Coccinella septempunctata (Coleoptera; Coccinellidae) as affected by the hunger levels on natural host species
AbstractLadybird beetles/Ladybugs, both adults and larvae, are well-known primarily as predators of aphids (plant lice); however, they also prey upon many other soft bodied insects and eggs of different borers. Laboratory rearing of predatory ladybirds often need a live host particularly aphids. Studies were conducted to check the suitability of live and frozen rose and mustard aphids to rear seven spotted ladybird beetle under two feeding conditions i.e., fed normally (unstarved beetles) or hungry (starved) for 16 hours. Results showed that hungriness may affect the food consumption efficiency. When the beetles were not starved, they showed preference for eating live mustard aphids as compared to frozen (Mean ± SE = 6.24 ± 0.37 live aphids, 4.43 ± 0.40frozen aphids). Similar trend was observed on rose aphids (6.51 ± 0.5 (live aphids) and 4.86 ± 0.49 (frozen aphids)). But the adults in starved condition consumed equal number of live and frozen aphids. During the 1st hour, starved beetles consumed more aphids of both species as compared to unstarved beetles. Also, more number of mealybugs was consumed in starved condition. This study highlights that feeding potential of predatory seven spotted ladybird is not only affected by the type of host but also the condition of host (live vs frozen). Moreover, starvation level of the predator can also be an important factor in determining its devouring capacity.
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