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Developmental Duration and Predatory Efficiency of Episyrphus balteatus on Four Aphid Species in Pakistan.

Byline: Sajida Mushtaq Shahnaz Akhtar Rana Naureen Rana Sadia Maalik and Nazia Ehsan

Abstract

Present study examined the predatory preference and its impact on developmental period of Episyrphus balteatus on four aphid species i.e. Brevicoryne brassicae Schizaphis graminum Myzus persicae and Rhopalosiphum padi which were abundantly present in the croplands of Faisalabad Pakistan. Prey consumption by all larval instars was evaluated under laboratory conditions at an average temperature of 205C 605% RH and photoperiod of 16:8 h D: L. Predator-prey interaction between two antagonistic groups of insects (Syrphids: E. balteatus and four aphid species) was determined. The selection of prey species was carried out on the basis of relative abundance of species in cropland data of whole year and predator-prey interaction by applying regression.

Results revealed that the developmental duration was recorded significantly longer by consuming B. brassicae and S. graminum while larval growth was significantly greater in the presence of S. graminum (11.5 days) and R. padi (11.4 days) by consuming (410.3) and (397.3) specimens of later two aphid species respectively. Predatory impact on aphids was more effective on B. brassicae due to its relatively less consumption and increased growth. Highest number of aphid predation was observed during 3rd instar. These studies are important for effective management and control of these aphid species. Copyright 2014 Friends Science Publishers.

Keywords: Episyrphus balteatus; Development; Predation; Aphids; Cropland.

Introduction

An insect is categorized as pest if the insect damage causes sufficient reduction in quality as well as yield of crops (Dent 2000). Aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) are soft bodied insects small in size and herbivore in nature. The aphid populations' increase parthenogenetically primarily they are found on host plants especially on growing parts including tips flowers and developing pods with high density (Blackman and Eastop 2000; Mushtaq et al. 2013). Aphids are major cause of annual reduction in valuable cereal crops one of them is wheat and some species of aphids are the regular insect pests of Brassica crops in Southern Punjab Pakistan (Razaq et al. 2011). Insecticides have proved to be the solution to tackle the insect pest problems irrespective of the disadvantages associated with use of these chemicals (Priya and Misra 2007). The economic aspects and side effects of insecticides on environment are not neglect able (Thanavendan and Jeyarani 2010). The environment friendly solution of such type of problems is the use of natural enemies. Natural enemies attack on various pests of agro-ecosystems; these interact in complex ways (Sutherland and Parrella2009; Rana et al. 2010; Inayat et al. 2012). These biological control agents may be predators or parasitoids (Hajek 2004). Interactions of Predator and prey speciesare one of the best-suited processes in ecology (Inayat et al. 2011).An ideal natural enemy is one that consumes sufficient number of the preys at the right time to maintain a pest population below the economic injury threshold for the crop considered (Michaud and Belliure 2000). The family Syrphidae comprising 6000 described species represents one of the largest dipteran families (Thompson 2006). Adult syrphids have strong abilities to forage for aphid colonies. Episyrphus balteatus belongs to subfamily Syrphinae with dorsal side of abdomen is patterned with orange and black bands. E. balteatus is among those few species of flies capable of crushing pollen grains for feed (Veen 2004). Due to aphidophagous nature its larvae are important predators for controlling aphids (Hong and Hung2010) as they voraciously attack and consume a wide range of aphid species (Leroy et al. 2010). The developmental duration and predatory performance vary with change in environmental conditions.The present study was carried out first time in Pakistan to determine the developmental duration and predatory performance of E. balteatus on four aphid species during March-April 2011. The generated information will provide a preliminary step for biological control of these aphid species by conserving E. balteatus.

Materials and Methods

Experimental Material and Rate of Development

Fertilized eggs of predator species were kept in the separate plastic petri dishes (1.5 cm in height and 5.5 cm in diameter). Petri dishes were labeled properly and transferred in the rearing cages of (32A-30A-30 cm) dimensions the crop plants or branches infested by individual aphid species were kept in cages to ensure the presence of prey species. Syrphid larvae were provided aphids in sufficient number to satisfy the predator species. Single syrphid species with each aphid species were kept in a separate cage. Each trial was repeated three times. Experiment was conducted in Pest Control Lab at Department of Zoology and Fisheries University of Agriculture Faisalabad. Continuous observations were made to record the time duration of egg hatching as well asconversion of 1st larval stage to second and 3rd instars followed by pre-puparium and pupae formation till the emergence of adults. Experiment was conducted in the months of March and April 2011 at average temperature of2005C 605% RH and of 16:8 h D: L photoperiod. Data were taken at an interval of 12 hours to monitor theconversion of each life stage into next one. Rearing cageswere cleaned and new aphids were provided on daily basis.

Rate of Predation

In the same experiment extent of predation by larvae of E. balteatus was determined by offering them four aphid species B. brassicae S. graminum M. persicae and R. padi. Predatory efficiency was determined from right after emergence of larvae from egg till pre-pupation stage. All aphids of four species that were used during experiment were of same instars. After 24 h aphid numbers consumed were recorded petri dishes were cleaned and predator was provided with fresh preys. As a control Aphids in petri dishes were used to check the correct non-predation aphid mortality. For 1st instar predator young aphids were selected so the predator was not reluctant to prey on them. Number of aphids offered to predator increased with increasing age of predator (instars of Syrphids). The number of prey consumed in 24 h by the predator was estimated by subtracting the number of alive from total number of prey that were offered. The remaining live preys were removed and fresh ones were offered to predator at respective densities. Prey consumption at the end of each day or (per- day consumption) and predation rate at the end of each instar was also recorded.

Statistical Analysis

Consumption rate or predatory efficiency of E. balteatus larvae was compared at each larval instar as well as the average per day consumption by using One-way ANOVA at0.05 probability level. Minitab software version-v11 was used for statistical analysis. Growth rate (length andduration) of E. balteatus was also compared by One-wayANOVA (Hothorn et al. 2008).E. balteatus and selected species of aphids were chosen on the basis of their abundance in sampled data. Correlation among syrphids and aphids species was confirmed by linear regression by using Microsoft excel2010 (Inayat et al. 2011).

Results

Development

E. balteatus was recorded as one of the aphidophagous syrphids species and was found dominant in aphid colonies in the crops habitat. Table 2 shows developmental duration of each life stage and complete juvenile development period was recorded in the presence of four aphid species along with body lengths of E. balteatus.

Incubation Period

Eggs of syrphids were of sub- spherical or slightly oval in shape with its length of 3.5 mm. Time duration of egg hatching showed slight variation in the presence of four aphid species. Time duration ranged from 2.3 to 2.9 days for hatching in the presence of S. graminum M. persicae and R. padi (aphid); maximum prolonged duration was recorded in case of B. brassicae.

Larval Duration

Total larval duration prolonged for 9.6 to 11 days when predator fed on S. graminum R. padi and B. brassicae and least duration was recorded in case while fed on M. persicae. Body length of 3rd instar larvae were measured as (5.9 8.2 and 10.2 mm) respectively. At 3rd instars level larvae were green in color. Results revealed that members of subfamily Syrphinae were specialized predator at this stage and found to be voracious feeder on aphids.

Pupal Duration

Larvae first reduced in size and finally stopped predation for conversion into pupae. Pupae were brown in color anterior rounded portion for adult emergence and posterior tip normally found in attached form. It was relatively smaller in size than larvae. Pupal duration was recorded as maximum of 9.7 days when its larvae fed on S. graminum followed by 9.5 for B. brassicae and least 8.1 days in case of M. persicae.

Adult Longevity

E. balteatus adults emerged were bright colored normally orange-yellow abdomen with black strips on body and with average body length of 15.2 mm. These specific banding patterns of abdomen were one of their identification marks also. The survival of this species in rearing cages was from 7.33 to maximum 9 days.

Table 1: Association of E. balteatus to its prey (aphid) species through regression

Predator###Prey/Pest###R2=Values

Episyrphus balteatus###Schaizaphis graminum###0.878

###Myzus persicae###0.8317

###Brevicoryne brassicae###0.805

###Rhopalosiphum padi###0.798

Table 2: Time duration in days of different life stages of E. balteatus in the presence of four aphid species and its

body lengths

Aphid species###Egg###1st Instar 2nd instar 3rd###Total larval pre-###Pupae###Total pupal###Adult###Total###Percent

###Incubation###Instar duration###puparium###duration###duration###Survival

###Mean###Mean Mean###Mean Mean###Mean###Mean###Mean###Mean###Mean

###S.D###S.D###S.D###S.D###S.D###S.D###S.D###S.D###S.D###S.D

B. brassicae###2.9###2.3###3.2###4.5###10###1.5###8###9.5###7.67###30.07###80%

###0.20###0.20a###0.24a###0.41b###0.85a###0.41b###0.82b###1.23b###1.2a###3.3b

M. persicae###2.8###2.2###3.2###4.2###9.6###1.3###6.8###8.1###7.33###26.5###86%

###0.24###0.24a###0.24a###0.24a###0.72a###0.24a###0.24a###0.48a###0.5a###1.64a

S. graminum###2.3###3.1###3.3###4.5###10.9###1.7###8###9.7###9###30.6###76%

###0.24###0.11b###0.47a###0.41b###0.9b###0.24b###0.82b###1.06b###1.41b###3.5b

R. padi###2.4###2.9###3.5###4.6###11###1###8###9###8.67###28.8###78%

###0.31###0.12b###0.41b###0.31b###0.84b###0.41a###0.81b###1.22b###0.47b###2.5b

Body lengths(mm) 3.5###5.9###8.2###10.2 10.2###9.8###10.9###10.9###15.16

###0.41###0.42###0.77###0.62###0.62###0.24###0.24###0.24###0.62

Predation

E. balteatus is an important aphid consuming agent. Present study revealed that aphid consumption has direct relationship with the age of E. balteatus larvae for all aphid species.

Total Consumption

E. balteatus larvae consumed highest mean number of (477.343.7) M. persicae followed by 410.3 specimens of S. graminium 397.3 specimens of R. padi and 244.7 of B. brassicae till pupal stage. The above findings showed that there was significant difference (ANOVA: F= 7.89 df=3 p less than 0.005) in predatory efficiency of E. balteatus larvae when fed on four different aphid species.

Consumption at Different Larval Instars

Fig. 1 presents that 3rd instasr larvae of E. balteatus consumed highest number of aphids of each species. On the whole M. persicae was highly consumed aphid species especially by the 3rd instar larvae which differ significantly (ANOVA: F= 2775.43 df=3 p less than 0.001) on four aphid species. The highest rate of consumption was observed during first and second day of 3rd instar while it decreased at third day and reduced to negligible on 5th day just before pupation.

Average Per-day Consumption

Average per-day consumption of E. balteatus was greater on M. persicae as 47.7 specimens and relatively less number of B. brassicae as 24.4 specimens were consumed. Average per-day consumption of four aphid species was significantly different (Fig. 2). Difference in per day consumption of E. balteatus larvae on four aphid species was calculated by ANOVA: F=63.56 df= 3 8 p less than 0.001.

Survival

Survival of E. balteatus larvae was recorded maximum (87%) when fed on M. persicae followed by 82% on B. brassicae 80% on R. padi and 76% on S. graminum.

When correlation was made between E. balteatus larvae and aphid species it revealed their relationship as shown by (Fig. 3a-d). Linear regression analysis depicted that E. balteatus showed strong relationships when correlated with S. graminium (R2=0.878) also interacted strongly with M. persicae B. brassicae and relatively less with R. padi (Table 1).

Discussion

Predatory hoverflies especially subfamily Syrphinae are good models to investigate the relationship between prey specialization and strategies of life history (Branquart 2000; Sadeghi and Gilbert 2000). Dual importance of Syrphidae as pollinators and bio-control agents against pests especially the aphids provides a strong reason to protect these natural enemies and their augmentative use in the agro-ecosystems (Sommaggio 1999).

It was also revealed from results that the developmental period of E. balteatus varied significantly with respect to aphid species. These variations may attribute due to preference and difference in consumption of aphid species (Bhadauria et al. 2001).

Results demonstrated that the body size of syrphid larvae increased gradually at different instar levels with the increase in the predation rate on aphids till the 3rd instar larvae got the size two-three times greater than the 1st instar. The predation at 3rd instar stage of development also increased to the maximum but slowed down just before pupation. It was also observed that there was no considerable variation in larval size of the same instars during predation on different aphid species but little variation in size of emerging adults among the syrphids was evidenced. Dixon (2000) suggested that nutritional quality quantity and availability of food at larval development effect the body size of adults emerged as a result of that food. More or less similar statement was given by Scholz and Poehling (2000) and Belliure and Michaud (2001).

Accordingly body size of syrphids differed by the variation in the size of their prey (Aphid) species. Maximum larval duration of E. balteatus was recorded from 10-12 days.

These results were in coordination to the statement of Tinkeu and Hance (1998) that duration of feeding period was linked to the age of the predator the youngest predator requiring more time to overcome the resistance of the prey which decreased gradually as the predator grew. They related the later age with the changes in the morphology of the mouth parts of the predator larvae.

Predation of E. balteatus was found generally greater in our results on all selected aphid species. The maximum consumption number of M. persicae by E. balteatus was confirmed by Hong and Hung (2010). Gagne et al. (2002) and Pervez and Omkar (2005) were also of the view that nutritional suitability of prey species and difference in handling especially in laboratory might also affect the consumption rate. Larsson (2005) revealed that predation of aphids by syrphid larvae found to be regular in case of different aphid species. Acting as candidate of biological control agent its larvae consume a wide range of aphid species sometimes exceeding more than hundred species of aphids (Sadeghi and Gilbert 2000; Leroy et al. 2010). (Rojo et al. 2001; Speight 2003) also reported the E. balteatus as effective predator species of aphids.Predation by E. balteatus during its development is great contribution in the significant suppression of aphids. Analysis of species interaction of E. balteatus with aphid species rather than simple description and abundance provides not only the information but also the understanding of actual work of communities. Understanding about these functionally important species which are pollinators and able to move in various environments as habitat restoration is an essential component for conservation of ecology.It was concluded that the prevailing ecological principles and natural selection is responsible to make a species flourishing or failing. These differences were depicted as by feeding preferences of prey species also variation in developmental period along with differences inmorphology for their distribution in different habitats amongspecific prey species. These studies can be useful for IPMprograms for effective management of aphids.

Acknowledgements

The authors highly acknowledge Higher Education Commission Islamabad Pakistan for funding to accomplish this work.

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Publication:International Journal of Agriculture and Biology
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Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 30, 2014
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