Laboratory studies were conducted to determine the effect of two prey species, Agonoscena pistaciae Burckhardt and Lauterer (Hemiptera: Aphalaridae) and Aphis gossypii Glover (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on the biology, reproduction, and food consumption indices of Coccinella septempunctata L. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Both species of prey were readily consumed by C. septempunctata larvae and adults. The predator was able to successfully utilize the psylla prey for larval development, but failed to lay eggs when fed this prey. However, A. gossypii fully supported both development and reproduction of C. septempunctata. Dry mass of ingested food was similar on both diets for each larval instar. However, the dry mass gained during each stadium for C. septempunctata was significantly greater with A. gossypii prey. The aphid diet was superior to the psylla diet in terms of food conversion efficiency as larvae consumed aphids more efficiently than psyllas, regardless of the higher consumption index on the psylla prey. Our results confirm that the study of prey suitability for larvae and adult stages of predatory lady beetles should be studied separately.
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Vol. 112 • No. 2