Intraguild predation (IGP) occurs when consumers competing for a resource also engage in predatory interactions. A common type of IGP involves aphid predators and parasitoids: since parasitoid offspring develop within aphid hosts, they are particularly vulnerable to predation by aphid predators such as coccinellid beetles. Other intraguild interactions that include non-lethal behavioral effects, such as interference with foraging and avoidance of IGP, may also hamper parasitoid activity and reduce their effectiveness as biological control agents. In this study, we quantified mortality in and behavioral effects on Aphidius colemani Viereck (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae) by its IG-predator Coccinella undecimpunctata L. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), and compared the impact of two release ratios of these natural enemies on aphid populations. Parasitoids did not leave the plant onto which they were first introduced, regardless of the presence of predators, even when alternative prey was offered on predator-free plants nearby. In 2-hour experiments, predator larvae interfered with wasp activity, and the level of aphid parasitism was lower in the presence of predators than in their absence. In these experiments, the parasitoids contributed more to aphid mortality than the predators and aphid suppression was higher when a parasitoid acted alone than in combination with a predator larva. These results were confirmed in a 5-day experiment, but only at one parasitoid:predator release ratio (4:3) not another (2:3). The over-all impact on aphid population growth was non-the-less stronger when both enemies acted together than when only one of them was present. Results indicate that for given release ratios and time scale, the negative lethal and non-lethal effects of the predator on parasitoid performance did not fully cancelled the direct impact of the predator on the aphid population.
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Acknowledgment We thank Ruth Yonah for help with manuscript preparation and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. This study was supported in part by Research Grant No. US-2855–97 from BARD, the United States – Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund.
- Aphidius colemani
- Biological control
- Coccinella undecimpunctata
- Foraging behavior
- Intraguild predation
- Risk of predation