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Insects 2016, 7(3), 29; doi:10.3390/insects7030029

Elucidating the Common Generalist Predators of Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in an Organic Apple Orchard Using Molecular Gut-Content Analysis

1
Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, 578 Wilson Rd., East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2
Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, 2360 Rainwater Rd., Tifton, GA 31793, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Andrew G. S. Cuthbertson and Eric W. Riddick
Received: 22 April 2016 / Revised: 16 June 2016 / Accepted: 20 June 2016 / Published: 24 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Control of Invertebrate Pests)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [375 KB, uploaded 24 June 2016]   |  

Abstract

Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), plum curculio, is a serious direct pest of North American tree fruit including, apples, cherries, peaches and plums. Historically, organophosphate insecticides were used for control, but this tool is no longer registered for use in tree fruit. In addition, few organically approved insecticides are available for organic pest control and none have proven efficacy as this time. Therefore, promoting biological control in these systems is the next step, however, little is known about the biological control pathways in this system and how these are influenced by current mechanical and cultural practices required in organic systems. We used molecular gut-content analysis for testing field caught predators for feeding on plum curculio. During the study we monitored populations of plum curculio and the predator community in a production organic apple orchard. Predator populations varied over the season and contained a diverse assemblage of spiders and beetles. A total of 8% of all predators (eight Araneae, two Hemiptera, and six Coleoptera species) assayed for plum curculio predation were observed positive for the presence of plum curculio DNA in their guts, indicating that these species fed on plum curculio prior to collection Results indicate a number of biological control agents exist for this pest and this requires further study in relation to cultural practices. View Full-Text
Keywords: apple production; biological control; generalist predators; MGCA; natural enemies; plum curculio; organic; spiders apple production; biological control; generalist predators; MGCA; natural enemies; plum curculio; organic; spiders
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Schmidt, J.M.; Szendrei, Z.; Grieshop, M. Elucidating the Common Generalist Predators of Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in an Organic Apple Orchard Using Molecular Gut-Content Analysis. Insects 2016, 7, 29.

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