Honeydew produced by homopteran insects, such as aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs, can be abundant in some crops and may represent an important food resource for spiders and other honeydew-feeding natural enemies. Woolly whiteflies (Aleurothrixus floccosus [Homoptera: Aleyrodidae]) are common in south Texas citrus, and spiders consistently compose a large percentage of the predatory arthropods in citrus and may benefit from honeydew resources. Feeding on woolly whitefly honeydew was assayed for its contribution to spider survival for five species from different arachnid families. When provided with whitefly honeydew, survival of all five species was significantly better than when provided water alone. However, the level of improvement in survival varied significantly among species. Honeydew supplementation increased survival by 73.5% for Apollophanes punctipes (Cambridge, O. P) (Philodromidae) (32.1 versus 18.5 d on water alone), 266.7% for Cesonia bilineata (Hentz) (Gnaphosidae), 352.6% for Dictyna sp. near bellans hatchi (Dictynidae), 130.9% for Thiodina sylvana (Hentz), and 1,102.5% for Hibana futilis (Banks) (Anyphaenidae) (48 versus 4 d on water alone).
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Vol. 50 • No. 2