J Pest Sci (2018) 91:613–623
When the ground cover brings guests: is Anaphothrips obscurus
a friend or a foe for the biological control of Tetranychus urticae
María Antonia Gómez‑Martínez
· Josep A. Jaques
María Victoria Ibáñez‑Gual
· Tatiana Pina
Received: 8 September 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 14 October 2017 / Published online: 28 October 2017
© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017
response when oﬀered A. obscurus nymphs, whereas P.
persimilis barely feeds on this thrips species. Furthermore,
N. barkeri and N. californicus can reproduce feeding only
on thrips. Regarding prey preference, the Tetranychus spp.-
specialist P. persimilis preferably preyed on T. urticae, the
generalists N. barkeri and E. stipulatus preferred A. obscu-
rus, and the selective predator of tetranychid mites N. cali-
fornicus showed no preference. Therefore, we hypothesize
that the enhanced biological control of T. urticae observed
could be related to A. obscurus becoming an alternative prey
for non-specialist phytoseiids, without altering the control
exerted by the T. urticae-specialist P. persimilis and likely
reducing intraguild predation.
Keywords Festuca arundinacea · Phytoseiidae ·
Functional responses · Prey preference · Apparent
The implementation of a Festuca arundinacea cover in
clementine orchards, which results in the enhanced bio-
logical control of Tetranychus urticae, increases Anapho-
thrips obscurus abundance. The relationship between
these two phytophagous insects remains unclear.
Functional responses of predatory mites feeding on A.
obscurus and their prey preferences when T. urticae is
oﬀered are species speciﬁc.
Festuca arundinacea cover may beneﬁt T. urticae bio-
logical control by providing a shared prey (A. obscurus)
for predatory mites, probably through apparent competi-
tion and reducing intraguild predation.
Abstract Biological control of Tetranychus urticae
Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae), a key pest of clementines,
can be improved in this crop with the establishment of a
ground cover of Festuca arundinacea Schreber (Poaceae).
This cover houses an abundant and diverse community of
predatory Phytoseiidae mites including Euseius stipulatus
(Athias-Henriot), Neoseiulus barkeri Hughes, Neoseiu-
lus californicus (McGregor) and Phytoseiulus persimilis
Athias-Henriot and a dense population of the grass thrips
Anaphothrips obscurus Müller (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)
throughout the year. The aim of this study was to determine
whether the presence of this thrips species could be related
to the improvement in the biological control of T. urticae.
Therefore, the capacity of the abovementioned phytoseiids to
feed and reproduce on A. obscurus and their feeding prefer-
ences when T. urticae and A. obscurus were simultaneously
oﬀered, were analyzed. The results show that E. stipula-
tus, N. barkeri and N. californicus have a type II functional
Communicated by B. Lavandero.
Josep A. Jaques was formerly Josep A. Jacas.
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this
article (doi:10.1007/s10340-017-0926-0) contains supplementary
material, which is available to authorized users.
* Tatiana Pina
Departament de Ciències Agràries i del Medi Natural, Unitat
Associada d’Entomologia Agrícola, UJI-IVIA, Universitat
Jaume I (UJI), Avda. Vicent Sos Baynat, s/n; Campus del
Riu Sec, 12071 Castelló de la Plana, Spain
Departament de Matemàtiques - IMAC, UJI,
Avda. Vicent Sos Baynat, s/n; Campus del Riu Sec,
12071 Castelló de la Plana, Spain