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Article

Zelus renardii Roaming in Southern Italy

1
Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e degli Alimenti, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 70126 Bari, Italy
2
Faculty of Sciences of Tunis, University of Tunis El-Manar, Rommana, Tunis 1068, Tunisia
3
Laboratory of Plant Protection, INRAT—National Institute of Agronomic Research of Tunisia, Carthage University, Ariana 2049, Tunisia
4
Laboratory of Phytopathology, Department of Marine Science and Applied Biology, University of Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig, 03690 Alicante, Spain
5
CIHEAM—Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari, 70010 Valenzano, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lukasz L. Stelinski and Jiří Skuhrovec
Insects 2022, 13(2), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020158
Received: 26 October 2021 / Revised: 30 November 2021 / Accepted: 30 January 2022 / Published: 31 January 2022
The leafhopper assassin bug Zelus renardii (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) first entered Europe in 2012 and has since acclimatised. Z. renardii is now a common insect predator in agroecosystems and urban and peri-urban areas. We performed a metadata analysis of 165 years of Z. renardii literature. Moreover, we provide laboratory tests of Z. renardii predation. The latter indicates Z. renardii interplay with relevant insect targets, such as Philaenus spumarius, Neophilaenuscampestris, Bactrocera oleae, Kermes vermilio, Nidularia pulvinata, Harmonia axyridis, Apis mellifera, Aleurocanthus spiniferus, Aleurothrixus floccosus, Macrohomotoma gladiata, Drosophila suzukii, Drosophila melanogaster, Megaselia scalaris, Pseudococcidae, Miridae, and Issidae. Furthermore, predation on Aphrophoridae and other olive pests brands Z. renardii as a good mass-rearing candidate for inundative biocontrol programs of Xylella fastidiosa pauca ST53 infections and could also reduce damage caused by other olive pests. Overall, this reduviid is harmless to humans and beneficial insects.
This study collects data from the literature and updates our Zelus renardii Kolenati, 1856 (Leafhopper Assassin Bug, LAB) prey knowledge. The literature consists of ca. 170 entries encompassing the years 1856 to 2021. This reduviid originated in the Nearctic region, but has entered and acclimatised in many Mediterranean countries. Our quantitative predation experiments—in the laboratory on caged plants plus field or environmental observations—confirm that LAB prefers a selected array of prey. Laboratory predation tests on living targets (Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, and Hymenoptera) agree with the literature. Zelus renardii prefers comparatively large, highly mobile, and readily available prey. LAB preferences on available hemipterans targets suggest that Zelus renardii is a good inundative biocontrol agent for Xylella fastidiosapauca ST53 infections. LAB also prey on other important olive pests, such as Bactrocera oleae. Therefore, Zelus renardii is a major integrated pest management (IPM) component to limit Xylella fastidiosa pandemics and other pest invasions. View Full-Text
Keywords: alien invasive or quarantine; stenophagous predator; infection and vector biocontrol; Harpactorinae; reference metadata analysis alien invasive or quarantine; stenophagous predator; infection and vector biocontrol; Harpactorinae; reference metadata analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lahbib, N.; Picciotti, U.; Sefa, V.; Boukhris-Bouhachem, S.; Porcelli, F.; Garganese, F. Zelus renardii Roaming in Southern Italy. Insects 2022, 13, 158. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020158

AMA Style

Lahbib N, Picciotti U, Sefa V, Boukhris-Bouhachem S, Porcelli F, Garganese F. Zelus renardii Roaming in Southern Italy. Insects. 2022; 13(2):158. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020158

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lahbib, Nada, Ugo Picciotti, Valdete Sefa, Sonia Boukhris-Bouhachem, Francesco Porcelli, and Francesca Garganese. 2022. "Zelus renardii Roaming in Southern Italy" Insects 13, no. 2: 158. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020158

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