Some spider mites, such as Tetranychus spp. and Amphitetranychus spp., create complicated webs (CWs), whereas others, such as Panonychus spp., produce little webs (LWs). We verified whether interspecific competition occurred between CW and LW mites via habitat arrangement under laboratory conditions. The complicated webs produced by CW mites clearly inhibited juvenile development in LW mites, whereas there was no effect of LW mites on CW mites. In oviposition site choice tests, both CW and LW females preferred the lower surface of leaves to the upper surface. The preference of LW mites for the lower leaf surface, even in the presence of CW mite webs, suggests that the costs of amensalism are outweighed by the possible benefits, such as avoiding rain. These findings show that the shift in mite species composition from LW to CW mites can occur as a consequence of the interspecific association between spider mites via their webs, without pesticide applications or the presence of natural enemies.
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Vol. 99 • No. 3