Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/30/2008
Publication Date: 3/16/2009
Citation: Holguin, C.M., Pena, J.E., Henry, T.J., Acevedo, F.E. 2009. Biology of Stethoconus praefectus (Heteroptera: Miridae), a newly established predator of the avocado lace bug, Pseudacysta perseae (Heteroptera: Tingidae). Florida Entomologist. 92:54-57. Interpretive Summary: Plant bugs are the largest family of true bugs and contain numerous agriculturally important species. Many plant bugs, such as lygus bugs and cotton fleahopper, are important pests causing millions of dollars damage to crops. In contrast, a growing number of other plant bugs are being recognized as predatory and are considered beneficial. This report presents information on a recently detected Asian plant bug that was found in South Florida preying on the avocado lace bug, a widespread pest that causes enormous losses to avocado in the United States each year. To determine the potential for helping to control the avocado lace bug in Florida, the life cycle and effectiveness as a predator were investigated under laboratory conditions. On average, the first four immature stages consumed two to four lace bugs per day; the last two stages consumed two to seven lace bugs per day. This information will be valuable to all researchers and other agricultural specialists involved in the biological control of avocado lace bugs.
Technical Abstract: Stethoconus praefectus (Distant) (Heteroptera: Miridae) was recently discovered in Florida preying on the avocado lace bug, Pseudacysta perseae (Heidemann) (Heteroptera: Tingidae). Its life cycle and effectiveness as a predator of P. perseae were investigated at 26 plus or minus 1 degrees centigrade, 60 plus or minus 5 RH, and 12: 12 (L: D) under laboratory conditions. Stethoconus praefectus developed from egg to adult in 16.5 plus or minus 0.2 days. On average, the first four nymphal instars consumed two to four prey per day, whereas the last two instars consumed two to seven lace bugs per day. Stethoconus praefectus was observed in the field from August through December, 2007.