Prey and Pollen Food Choice Depends on Previous Diet in an Omnivorous Predatory Mite

Tarryn Schuldiner-Harpaz*, Moshe Coll, Phyllis G. Weintraub

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The time allocated by omnivorous predators to consuming prey versus plant-provided foods (e.g., pollen) directly influences their efficacy as biocontrol agents of agricultural pests. Nonetheless, diet shifting between these two very different food sources remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that previous diet composition influences subsequent choice of prey and plant food types. We tested this hypothesis by observing the foraging choices of Amblyseius swirskii (Athias-Henriot) mites (Mesostigmata: Phytoseiidae), which were first maintained on either prey (broad mites) or corn pollen, and then offered familiar and unfamiliar foods. A. swirskii exhibited strong fidelity to familiar food, whether prey or pollen, suggesting there are physiological or behavioral costs involved in shifting between such different foods. Results illustrate the importance of previous diet for subsequent pest consumption by omnivorous natural enemies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)995-998
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Entomology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors 2016.


  • Amblyseius swirskii
  • Phytoseiidae
  • diet shifting
  • omnivory
  • pollen


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