The impact of a zoophytophagous, insect-free artificial diet upon the developmental rate, life table parameters, and fertility table parameters was examined over 11 consecutive generations for domesticated and wild colonies of Podisus maculiventris (Say) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae). This study showed that the developmental time, preoviposition period, fecundity, and nymphal survival improved in the domestic colony when fed an insect-free artificial diet for 11 consecutive generations, but remained relatively constant for the wild colony, as did reproductive rate and intrinsic rate of increase. Although, after 11 generations of adaptation to an artificial diet feeding regime, all reproductive and fertility table parameters were still significantly lower than when fed on T. ni larvae as the natural prey, the realized cost of rearing either colony on the artificial diet approached 1.2 times the cost of rearing these insects on a natural prey. This is a significant achievement in the effort to develop cost-effective artificial diets for the mass-rearing of beneficial pentatomids, and has positive implications for the use of one artificial diet to efficiently rear several beneficial insects.
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Vol. 95 • No. 6