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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Sustainable Pest Management Strategies for Arid-land Crops

Location: Pest Management and Biocontrol Research

Title: An immunological approach to quantify consumption of protein-tagged Lygus hesperus by the entire cotton predator assemblage

Author
item Hagler, James

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 27, 2011
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Citation: Hagler, J.R. 2011. An immunological approach to quantify consumption of protein-tagged Lygus hesperus by the entire cotton predator assemblage. Biological Control. 58 (2011) 337–345.

Interpretive Summary: A new method for post-mortem quantification of predation on prey items marked with protein antigens is described. First, short-term protein marking retention tests were conducted on the targeted prey, immature Lygus hesperus Knight (Heteroptera: Miridae). Chicken IgG, rabbit IgG, or soy milk proteins were readily detectable by a suite of protein specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) on the L. hesperus. Then, predator gut content assays were conducted on chewing and piercing–sucking type predators that consumed a 3rd instar L. hesperus marked with rabbit IgG. The rabbit IgG gut content ELISA detected the marked prey in the vast majority of both types of predators for up to 24 h after feeding. Finally, field cage studies were conducted to quantify predation rates of the natural cotton predator-assemblage on protein marked L. hesperus nymphs. Each 4th instar L. hesperus marked with rabbit IgG, chicken IgG, and soy milk was released into one of 360 field cages containing a cotton plant and the natural population of predators. After 7 h, each caged plant was pulled from the field, the number of predaceous arthropods in each cage were tallied, and each individual predator was assayed for the presence of marked prey by a suite of protein-specific ELISAs. A procedural error with the soy mark application negated the anti-soy ELISA data, but the anti-rabbit IgG and anti-chicken IgG ELISAs pinpointed exactly which predators preyed on the IgG marked nymphs. The protein-specific gut ELISAs revealed that various members of Araneae, Heteroptera, and Coleoptera were the most common predators of the marked prey items. In all, 74 predation events were recorded in the guts of the 556 predators encountered in the field cages. Of these 26, 23, and 14 marked individuals were eaten by various members of Araneae, Heteroptera,and Coleoptera, respectively. This study verifies that prey immunomarking is a simple, versatile, and effective method for quantifying predation rates on L. hesperus.

Technical Abstract: A new method for post-mortem quantification of predation on prey items marked with protein antigens is described. First, short-term protein marking retention tests were conducted on the targeted prey, immature Lygus hesperus Knight (Heteroptera: Miridae). Chicken IgG, rabbit IgG, or soy milk proteins were readily detectable by a suite of protein specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) on the L. hesperus. Then, predator gut content assays were conducted on chewing and piercing–sucking type predators that consumed a 3rd instar L. hesperus marked with rabbit IgG. The rabbit IgG gut content ELISA detected the marked prey in the vast majority of both types of predators for up to 24 h after feeding. Finally, field cage studies were conducted to quantify predation rates of the natural cotton predator-assemblage on protein marked L. hesperus nymphs. Each 4th instar L. hesperus marked with rabbit IgG, chicken IgG, and soy milk was released into one of 360 field cages containing a cotton plant and the natural population of predators. After 7 h, each caged plant was pulled from the field, the number of predaceous arthropods in each cage were tallied, and each individual predator was assayed for the presence of marked prey by a suite of protein-specific ELISAs. A procedural error with the soy mark application negated the anti-soy ELISA data, but the anti-rabbit IgG and anti-chicken IgG ELISAs pinpointed exactly which predators preyed on the IgG marked nymphs. The protein-specific gut ELISAs revealed that various members of Araneae, Heteroptera, and Coleoptera were the most common predators of the marked prey items. In all, 74 predation events were recorded in the guts of the 556 predators encountered in the field cages. Of these 26, 23, and 14 marked individuals were eaten by various members of Araneae, Heteroptera,and Coleoptera, respectively. This study verifies that prey immunomarking is a simple, versatile, and effective method for quantifying predation rates on L. hesperus.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014