Brad Burden, Texas A&M University – Central Texas

Effects of the Invasive Sugarcane Aphid, Melanaphis Sacchari, on the Development and Growth of the Lady Beetle, Coleomegilla Maculata

Abstract: The sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is a major agricultural pest that feeds on sorghum in the United States and Mexico. As with most invasive pests, it was introduced without its natural enemies. Coccinellids, commonly found in agricultural systems, are generalist predators of aphids. Coleomegilla maculata (Degeer) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), a common lady beetle, feeds upon M. sacchari and may be a potential agent for biological control in sorghum fields. In this study, we quantified the development and growth rate of C. maculata on an ad libitum diet of either M. sacchari or the common pea aphid, Acrythosiphon pisium (Harris) (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Data recorded included daily measurements of larvae, developmental time for each life stage, and size (length and width) of adults. Coleomegilla maculata was able to complete its full life cycle on a diet of M. sacchari. Evaluation of the effects of M. sacchari on the growth and development of C. maculata will help determine its efficacy as a biological control agent of the sugarcane aphid.

Presentation Author(s):
Brad Burden* and Laura Weiser-Erlandson

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