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2 November 2020 Revealing the Diet of Generalist Insect Predators in Strawberry Fields: Not Only Pests, But Other Predators Beware
K.L. Krey, W.R. Cooper, J.M. Renkema
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Generalist invertebrate predators contribute to pest management in agriculture, providing an important ecosystem service, particularly in organically managed fields. DNA-based methods to study food webs and feeding interactions in unrestricted field conditions have transformed dietary analysis of generalist predators. In this study, we used MiSeq next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology and universal arthropod primers to investigate the diet of several generalist insect predators collected in commercial organic Florida strawberry fields from November 2017 to March 2018. Of 12 predator insect taxa, Geocoris spp. (Say) (Hemiptera: Geocoridae) was the most abundant early in the growing season (November) and was collected consistently until the end of the season (early March). DNA sequences from 105 predator samples were matched to 44 arthropod families, and of these, 17 were categorized as pest families, 10 as nonpest or nonpredator families, and 17 as predator families. Drosophilidae was the most detected pest family, and Dolichopodidae was the most detected predator family. Prey diversity differed among the predators. Chrysoperla spp. (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) consumed more prey earlier in the season than did other predators, whereas the other predators consumed a greater diversity of other predators regardless of month. Our results showed a high amount of intraguild predation, but also that predators are contributing to pest suppression in organic strawberries and providing an important biological control service in Florida organic strawberries.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2020. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
K.L. Krey, W.R. Cooper, and J.M. Renkema "Revealing the Diet of Generalist Insect Predators in Strawberry Fields: Not Only Pests, But Other Predators Beware," Environmental Entomology 49(6), 1300-1306, (2 November 2020).
Received: 15 May 2020; Accepted: 11 September 2020; Published: 2 November 2020

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biological control
gut content analysis
next-generation sequencing
organic system
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