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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Interactions between the omnivorous bug Nesidiocoris tenuis (Heteroptera: Miridae) and the tomato pests Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Phthorimaea absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae): predation, phytophagy, and prey preference

Totin, Felicien Abegnonhou; Togbe, Delano Ronald; Sinzogan, Antonio; Karlsson, Miriam Frida


Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter) (Heteroptera: Miridae) is a zoophytophagous bug that can derive nutrients from 3 trophic levels: plants, herbivorous arthropods, and other predators. On tomato, besides damaging the plants as they feed, might the mirid also forage on pest species and repel pests. In greenhouse and laboratory experiments, we investigated the functional response of the bug, its prey preference, and its influence on the oviposition potentials of 2 major pest species Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Phthorimaea absoluta Meyrick (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) on tomato Solanum lycopersicum L. (Solanaceae). Nesidiocoris tenuis showed a Type II functional response to both prey species. The estimated handling time was higher for H. armigera eggs than for P. absoluta yet N. tenuis attack rates did not differ between the 2 prey species. Nesidiocoris tenuis did not show a preference for 1 species when prey eggs were provided in equal proportions. The feeding on tomato plants by N. tenuis did not affect oviposition by the 2 moth species, as neither species showed a preference for clean or N. tenuis-adult-damaged plants and clean or N. tenuis-nymph-damaged plants. This study shows that N. tenuis can prey upon eggs of both moth species as the 3 species co-occur in tomato fields. However, because of the shorter handling time of P. absoluta eggs by the predator and the higher number of eggs laid by H. armigera, the co-occurrence might be less detrimental to the H. armigera populations compared to P. absoluta.


biological control; zoophytophagous; preference; functional response

Published in

Journal Of Insect Science (Online)
2023, Volume: 23, number: 4, article number: 6

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    SLU Plant Protection Network

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