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Environmental variables such as temperature are important factors affecting the efficacy of biological control agents. This study evaluated the predation rate of the predatory thrips Scolothrips longicornis Priesner (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) against the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae) under laboratory conditions. Based on daily and total prey consumption of different life stages of S. longicornis on spider mite eggs at temperatures covering the range suitable for development and survival of the predator (15° C to 37° C, 60 ± 10% RH, 16:8 L:D), there was a significant effect of temperature on prey consumption. The number of prey consumed daily by first and second instar larvae increased linearly with increasing temperature from 15 °C to 37 °C, whereas daily consumption of preovipositing and postovipositing females was uninfluenced by temperature. Lower temperature thresholds for consumption by first and second instar larvae of S. longicornis was estimated to be 6.8 ± 0.04° C and 4.6 ± 0.03° C, respectively. The daily consumption of ovipositing females followed a nonlinear pattern, with maximum daily predation estimated at 32.8° C. From the model used to describe consumption of ovipositing females, an upper threshold for consumption of 41.4° C was estimated. The performance of S. longicornis at the different temperatures is discussed in relation to its practical use in integrated pest control programs.
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