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  • 1 National Research Centre (NRC) Pests and Plant Protection Department 31 El-Tahrir Street 12311 Dokki, Cairo Egypt
  • 2 National Research Centre (NRC) Plant Pathology Department 31 El-Tahrir Street 12311 Dokki, Cairo Egypt
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Neoseiulus barkeri (Hughes) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) has been reported from Africa, Asia and Europe, often in association with Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae), one of the most important pests of strawberry, cucumber and eggplant in different parts of the world. Neoseiulus barkeri is often observed for a limited time on plants in the absence of prey, feeding on alternative and supplementary foods and reaching high population levels. In this study, we test the hypothesis that various fungi (recorded in association with the host plant) could be suitable food source for the predatory mite N. barkeri . In the laboratory, we compared the developmental times, survival and oviposition rates of the predatory mite feeding on the primary food (T. urticae) or mycelium and spores of Aspergillus niger, Alternaria solani, Penicillium digitatum and Penicillium italicum as alternative or supplementary food. Results indicated that the fungi, A. niger, A. solani and P. digitatum are adequate food sources for generalist mite survival and development. Neoseiulus barkeri was able to sustain oviposition when fed on the fungus A. niger , so it was proved to be an alternative food, conversely the predator failed to oviposit when fed on P. digitatum and A. solani , hence, both fungi can be consider as supplementary food for the predator. The fungus P. italicum is proved to be inadequate food, since most of protonymphs failed to complete its development and reach adult female. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feeding preference and the effect of food items (pest mite or fungi) commonly present on strawberry, cucumber and pepper in fields or greenhouses.

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