The functional response of single Coenosia attenuta Stein (Diptera: Muscidae) adult females to Drosophila melanogaster (Meigen) adults has been investigated at different but constant temperatures and prey densities. The experiments were conducted in cages over a wide range of temperatures between 12 and 42°C. At each experimental temperature, the number of attacks increases with increasing prey density up to a maximum attack rate referred to as demand rate. A ratio-dependent and demand-driven functional response model was appropriate to describe the attack rate at different temperatures. Both the demand and the search rate linearly increased with increasing temperatures throughout the range. Based on these results, a temperature- and prey density-dependent bidimensional attack rate model was developed and parameterized. The resulting response surface shows that C. attenuata is active over a wide range of temperatures (from ≈12 to 36°C) and attacks occur up to 42°C. Thus, C. attenuata may be a promising biological control agent in Mediterranean greenhouses. To support this conclusion, further studies including the evaluation of spatial scale effects on the search rate and the consideration of the economically relevant whitefly prey are recommended.
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Vol. 98 • No. 5