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This study investigated the prey preference of 3rd instar green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea Stephens (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae), between western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), and lettuce aphids, Nasonovia ribisnigri (Mosley) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in laboratory experiments at 25 ± 1° C and 70 ± 5% RH with five prey ratios (10 aphids:80 thrips, 25 aphids:65 thrips, 45 aphids:45 thrips, 65 aphids:25 thrips, and 80 aphids:10 thrips). Third instar C. carnea larvae readily preyed upon both thrips and aphids, with thrips mortality varying between 40 and 90%, and aphid mortality between 52 and 98%. Chrysoperla carnea had a significant preference for N. ribisnigri at two ratios (10 aphids:80 thrips, 65 aphids:25 thrips), but no preference for either prey at the other ratios. There was no significant linear relationship between preference index and prey ratio, but a significant intercept of the linear regression indicated an overall preference of C. carnea for aphids with a value of 0.651 ± 0.054. The possible implications of these findings for control of N. ribisnigri and F. occidentalis by C. carnea are discussed.
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