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Do Development and Diet Determine the Degree of Cannibalism in Insects? To Eat or Not to Eat Conspecifics

1
Center for Research in Mediterranean Intensive Agrosystems and Agrifood Bioechnology (CIAMBITAL), Agrifood Campus of International Excellence (CEIA3), University of Almeria, Ctra. Sacramento, s/n, 04120 La Cañada, Spain
2
Ecology and Theoretical Biology, Eötvös Loránd University, Pázmány Péter sétány1/c, 1117 Budapest, Hungary
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(4), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11040242
Received: 29 February 2020 / Revised: 27 March 2020 / Accepted: 8 April 2020 / Published: 14 April 2020
Cannibalism in insects plays an important role in ecological relationships. Nonetheless, it has not been studied as extensively as in other arthropods groups (e.g., Arachnida). From a theoretical point of view, cannibalism has an impact on the development of more realistic stage-structure mathematical models. Additionally, it has a practical application for biological pest control, both in mass-rearing and out in the field through inoculative releases. In this paper, the cannibalistic behavior of two species of predatory bugs was studied under laboratory conditions—one of them a generalist predator (strictly carnivorous), Nabis pseudoferus, and the other a true omnivore (zoophytophagous), Nesidiocoris tenuis—and compared with the intraguild predation (IGP) behavior. The results showed that cannibalism in N. pseudoferus was prevalent in all the developmental stages studied, whereas in N. tenuis, cannibalism was rarely observed, and it was restricted mainly to the first three nymphal stages. Cannibalism and intraguild predation had no linear relationship with the different cannibal–prey size ratios, as evaluated by the mortality rates and survival times, although there were variations in cannibalism between stages, especially for N. pseudoferus. The mathematical model’s implications are presented and discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: Nabis pseudoferus; Nesidiocoris tenuis; predatory insect; generalist predator; true omnivore; intraguild predation; ontogeny; biological control; mathematical model Nabis pseudoferus; Nesidiocoris tenuis; predatory insect; generalist predator; true omnivore; intraguild predation; ontogeny; biological control; mathematical model
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Fernandez, F.J.; Gamez, M.; Garay, J.; Cabello, T. Do Development and Diet Determine the Degree of Cannibalism in Insects? To Eat or Not to Eat Conspecifics. Insects 2020, 11, 242.

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