Yi Feng, Zhao-Xu Zhou, Meng-Ru An
Dec 1, 2018
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) and Propylea japonica (Thunberg) (both Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) are two common aphidophagous predators that overlap in their natural niche; therefore, interactions between these two predator species could affect their overall prey consumption. The consequences of intraguild interactions on the foraging efficiency of the two coccinellid species were investigated by evaluating the functional responses of single beetles and intra‐ and interspecific combinations to densities of the spirea aphid, Aphis citricola van der Goot (Hemiptera: Aphididae), on apple seedlings, during 2 and 12 h under laboratory conditions. A type II functional response was observed in all the bioassays. Solitary H. axyridis consumed significantly more aphids than single P. japonica in both exposure periods. However, at intermediate prey densities the prey consumption of P. japonica was slightly greater than that of H. axyridis. The 95% confidence intervals of the functional response curves of conspecific and heterospecific pairs overlapped at 2 h. In contrast, conspecific pairs of H. axyridis showed a higher functional response curve at 12 h compared to a combination of H. axyridis and P. japonica. Prey's predation risk reduction was only detected for paired H. axyridis and mixed predators compared to their estimated functional responses at the 2‐h foraging period. By comparing functional responses between intraguild predatory lady beetle combinations, we could further predict the potential ecosystem service provided by these natural enemies.