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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Biological Control of Pests Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #235451

Title: Natural Enemies of the Coccinellidae: Parasites, Pathogens, and Parasitoids

item Riddick, Eric
item Cottrell, Ted

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/25/2009
Publication Date: 5/28/2009
Citation: Riddick, E. W., Cottrell, T. E., Kidd, K. A. 2009. Natural Enemies of the Coccinellidae: Parasites, Pathogens, and Parasitoids. Biological Control 51 (2009) 306-312.

Interpretive Summary: Lady beetles (family Coccinellidae) are important natural enemies of aphids on crop plants around the world. The role of parasites, pathogens and parasitoids that attack lady beetles is poorly known. An exhaustive review of the scientific literature on this subject revealed that lady beetles are attacked by bacteria, fungi, mites, nematodes, protozoa, wasps and flies, but few of these enemies have the ability to alter the population dynamics of their hosts. This research also highlighted the importance of pre-release screening of lady beetles to limit human involvement in the spread of pathogens and parasites from one locality to another. Unintentional spread of pathogens could undermine the reputation and success of biological control programs.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this review is to highlight recent literature on natural enemies that attack lady beetles, both entomophagous and phytophagous species. Information on parasites, pathogens, and parasitoids of the Coccinellidae has accumulated slowly, but gaps in our knowledge of this subject remain. We focus primarily on the pertinent literature published from 1996 through 2008 because an excellent review of coccinellid natural enemies was published in 1996 by Ceryngier and Hodek. We review aspects of the life histories of representative coccinellid enemies along with an exposition of both potential and real effects they have on life parameters of their hosts. Lady beetles are attacked by a variety of enemies (bacteria, fungi, mites, nematodes, protozoa, wasps, flies), but few of these enemies have the ability to alter significantly the population dynamics of their hosts. One species of parasitic mite shows promise as a biocontrol agent against the invasive Harmonia axyridis. This review should encourage further research to help define the role of natural enemies in the population dynamics of coccinellids. Ultimately, the conservation of beneficial lady beetles and the management of nuisance and pestiferous ones should be a major emphasis of research on natural enemy – coccinellid interactions in the future.