BIOLOGICAL CONTROL, vol.54, no.3, pp.166-171, 2010 (SCI-Expanded)
Sancassania polyphyllae (Acari: Acaridae) is associated with larvae of the white grub, Polyphylla fullo (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), and will feed on the infective juveniles of entomopathogenic nematodes in the families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae which are important biological control agents of soil insect pests. We conducted laboratory studies to determine the potential negative effects this mite species might have on biological control of soil insect pests. Our objectives in this study were to (1) determine the response of S. polyphyllae adult mites to a nematode-killed insects on agar, (2) evaluate the predation by mites on Steinernema feltiae infective juveniles from nematode-killed insects on agar and in soil, and (3) assess predation efficiency of the mite on the infective juveniles in the soil. On agar, we found (1) significantly more adult female mites near or on a nematode-killed Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) larva than near or on the freeze-killed larva or a bamboo mimic suggesting that a chemical or an odor from the nematode-killed larva attracted the mites, and (2) 10 mites consumed 96% of infective juveniles that emerged from an insect cadaver. In soil with a nematode-killed insect, the average number of infective juveniles recovered was <30 when mites were present, whereas the average number of infective juveniles recovered was >375 when the mites were absent. When the infective juveniles alone were placed in different depths in relation to the mites in the soil column for 4 and 10 days, S. polyphyllae was not as efficient at finding the infective juveniles when they were separated from each other in the soil lending support to the idea that the mites were cueing in on the cadaver as a food resource. Our data suggest that emerging infective juveniles from an insect cadaver in the soil in the presence of S. polyphyllae can adversely affect biological control because of nematode consumption by the mites. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.