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Cross-correlation analysis of fluctuations in local populations of pear psyllids and anthocorid bugs

Ecological Entomology


1. To test whether predatory anthocorids migrate into pear orchards when populations of pear psyllids are building up, a cross-correlation analysis was carried out on their population numbers. Predator and prey population sizes were assessed weekly in 3 consecutive years (1991-93) by sampling pear leaves for eggs and nymphs of psyllids and pear tree branches for adult psyllids, as well as adults and nymphs of predatory anthocorids. The time-series consisted of numbers (per leaf or branch) averaged over preselected pear trees in an orchard and, in addition, over other trees selected along the hedgerows flanking the orchard. 2. The fluctuations in populations of adult and juvenile anthocorids showed strong cross-correlations with those of the eggs and nymphs of pear psyllids, but less correlation with adults of pear psyllids, as expected based on their increased ability to escape from predation. The psyllids always appeared first on the pear trees, resulting in positive phase shifts. The first peak of adult anthocorids on pear trees was always later than the first peak in the hedgerows, and the first peak of nymphal anthocorids on pear trees was always later than the first peak of adults on these pear trees. In each of the 3 years, anthocorids were rarely observed in the pear orchard during the first part of the growing season (April-June), but during the second half of the growing season (July-August) there was a strong numerical response of the anthocorid populations to increasing population densities of pear psyllids. 3. These results provide support for the hypothesis that the numerical response of the predators to prey density is caused initially by migration of anthocorids into the pear orchard and then by a reproductive response. The migrants originate from the hedgerows and other trees elsewhere, where they feed on aphids during the first part of the growing season.

Author(s): Scutareanu, P; Lingeman, R; Drukker, B; Sabelis, MW

Journal: Ecological Entomology

Year: 1999