New mite shows potential for tomato protection

Pronematus ubiquitus (McGregor) is a small iolinid mite that is capable of establishing on tomato plants. Once established, this mite has been shown to control both tomato russet mite, Aculops lycopersici (Tryon) (Acari: Eriophyidae), and tomato powdery mildew (Oidium neolycopersici L. Kiss). In the present study, the research team explored the effects of a number of alternative food sources on the oviposition rate in the laboratory.

First, the team assessed the reproduction on food sources that P. ubiquitus can encounter on a tomato crop: tomato pollen and powdery mildew, along with tomato leaf and Typha angustifolia L. In a second laboratory experiment, the team evaluated the oviposition rate on two prey mites: the astigmatid Carpoglyphus lactis L. (Acari: Carpoglyphidae) and the tarsonemid Tarsonemus fusarii Cooreman (Acari: Tarsonemidae).

Powdery mildew and C. lactis did not support reproduction, whereas tomato pollen and T. fusarii did promote egg laying. However, T. angustifolia pollen resulted in a higher oviposition in both experiments. In a greenhouse trial on individual caged tomato plants, the team evaluated the impact of pollen supplementation frequency on the establishment of P. ubiquitus. Here, a pollen addition frequency of every other week was required to allow populations of P. ubiquitus to establish.

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Duarte, Marcus & Vangansbeke, Dominiek & Pijnakker, Juliette & Moerkens, Rob & Benavente Martínez, Alfredo & Arijs, Yves & Saucedo, Ana & Wäckers, Felix. (2021). Evaluation of Natural and Factitious Food Sources for Pronematus ubiquitus on Tomato Plants. Insects. 12. 1111. 10.3390/insects12121111. 

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