Mixed diets of prey and plant-provided foods, such as pollen, have been shown to benefit a wide range of arthropods. However, diet shifting between these two very different food sources remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that previous diet should influence subsequent time allocation between prey and plant food types; to reach a balanced diet, consumers are expected to allocate more time to resources previously lacking in their diet. We tested this hypothesis by observing the foraging choices of larvae of two omnivorous coccinellid species: Coccinella septempunctata L. and Hippodamia variegata (Goeze) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), following a diet history of prey, pollen or a mixed diet of both food types. Results showed an asymmetrical tendency of C. septempunctata larvae to complement their previous diet with unfamiliar food: larvae allocated more time to pollen feeding, but not to prey, when each of the foods was previously absent from their diet. Study results have important implications for the use of plant-provided food supplements to enhance biological control by these omnivorous consumers.
Journal of Insect Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 11, 2017
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