Ignacio Baez, Stuart R. Reitz, Joseph E. Funderburk, Steve M. Olson
Journal of Insect Science 11 (41), 1-18, (1 April 2011) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.011.0141
KEYWORDS: fertilization, flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis, Frankliniella tritici, Frankliniella bispinosa, host selection, Orius insidiosus, pepper, tomato
Anthophilous flower thrips in the genus Frankliniella (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) exploit ephemeral plant resources and therefore must be capable of successfully locating appropriate hosts on a repeated basis, yet little is known of interspecific and intraspecific variation in responses to host plant type and nutritional quality. Field trials were conducted over two seasons to determine if the abundance of males and females of three common Frankliniella species, F. occidentalis (Pergande), F. tritici (Fitch) and F. bispinosa (Morgan), their larvae, and a key predator, Orius insidiosus (Say) (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) were affected by host plant type and plant nutritional quality. Two host plants, pepper, Capsicum annuum L. (Solanales: Solanaceae) and tomato, Solanum lycopersicum L. that vary in suitability for these species were examined, and their nutritional quality was manipulated by applying three levels of nitrogen fertilization (101 kg/ha, 202 kg/ha, 404 kg/ha). F. occidentalis females were more abundant in pepper than in tomato, but males did not show a differential response. Both sexes of F. tritici and F. bispinosa were more abundant in tomato than in pepper. Larval thrips were more abundant in pepper than in tomato. Likewise, O. insidiosus females and nymphs were more abundant in pepper than in tomato. Only F. occidentalis females showed a distinct response to nitrogen fertilization, with abundance increasing with fertilization. These results show that host plant utilization patterns vary among Frankliniella spp. and should not be generalized from results of the intensively studied F. occidentalis. Given the different pest status of these species and their differential abundance in pepper and tomato, it is critical that scouting programs include species identifications for proper management.