Delphastus catalinae (Horn) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is a predator of whiteflies. It is tropical in origin. Whiteflies cause problems in agriculture in both humid and arid environments. A study was conducted to determine any effects of relative humidity on oviposition, hatching, and survival of immature D. catalinae. Comparative tests were conducted among relative humidities of 25, 35, 50, and 85% and between 10 and 85% RH. All tests were conducted at 26°C; hence, vapor pressure deficits ranged from 5.04 to 30.25 mb. The study was conducted using the B-biotype sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), as the host insect, which was reared on collard, Brassica oleracea ssp. acephala de Condolle. Egg hatch and survival to the adult stage were reduced at the lower relative humidities. At 85% RH, 99% of the eggs hatched and ≈90% of the beginning cohort survived to the adult stage. Conversely, ≈85% hatched and ≈60% survived to the adult stage at 25% RH, whereas 50% survived to the adult stage at 10% RH. Eggs required more time to develop at 10% RH (5.3 d) compared with 85% RH (4.1 d); a test was not set up to compare the developmental times for the larval and pupal stages. Weights of male and female D. catalinae were significantly reduced with a reduction in humidity. The results also suggest that density of immature D. catalinae, limited food supply, or both may affect survival and size of the ensuing adults. These results help in the understanding of the ecology of D. catalinae, and they indicate that extremes in ambient moisture can have an impact on the population of this predator.
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Vol. 101 • No. 2