Diet selection exhibited by juvenile and adult lifestages of the omnivores Western tarnished plant bug, Lygus hesperus and tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris.J Insect Sci. 2010; 10:127.JI
Lygus hesperus Knight and Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois) (Heteroptera: Miridae) are economically important plant bugs on many crops worldwide. However, these omnivores are also facultative predators on a wide variety of insects. This study was conducted to quantify and compare herbivory and carnivory exhibited among different lifestages of these two insect pests. The feeding activity of a total of 422 individuals was observed for 1 h each in feeding arenas containing a cotton leaf disk and copious amounts of the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) eggs, nymphs and adults. The L. hesperus and L. lineolaris lifestages examined included adults and 3rd, 4th and 5th instar nymphs. Plant feeding occupied the majority of both species' time budget, regardless of the species or lifestage examined. There was a tendency for L. lineolaris lifestages to feed more often and for longer duration on plant tissue than L. hesperus. All lifestages of both species rarely fed on B. tabaci, but when they did, they preferred nymphs > adults > eggs. There were only a few cases where there were significant differences in predation rates and prey handling times exhibited among lifestages and between species, but juvenile L. hesperus tended to be more predaceous than juvenile L. lineolaris on whitefly nymphs and adults and 5th instar and adult L. lineolaris were significantly more herbaceous than their L. hesperus counterparts. In addition, the younger individuals of both species tended to have greater prey handling times than their older counterparts. The significance of these findings is discussed.