Sensitivity and elasticity analyses quantify the effect of an absolute and proportional change in demographic variables on population growth rate (λ), respectively. The methods are used to identify the variable(s) that have the largest influence on λ. Tetranychus urticae Koch is one of the most polyphagous tetranychid mites which has been collected from plenty plant species including agricultural and horticultural crops. In this study, sensitivity and elasticity analyses were used to investigate the effects of various demographic variables on λ at five different temperatures (15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 °C), using both age- and stage-structured matrix models. Considering the sensitivity of λ to age-dependent fecundity rates (fx), it was found that starting oviposition one day earlier was associated with the highest sensitivity compared to the other age classes, irrespective of temperature. Besides, results from both age- and stage-structured matrix models indicated that λ is more sensitive to changes in survival rates than in fecundity rates at all temperatures. Furthermore, female individuals at the ages of 46, 23, 14, 11 and 7 days had the highest contribution to population growth in comparison with other ages, when reared at the above-mentioned temperatures, respectively. Also, the sensitivity of λ to the changes in survival of adults was higher than in other stages. Besides, the elasticity to fecundity rate at the age of first reproduction was considerably higher than those associated with the age of last reproduction. The survival rates (si) generally exhibited a higher elasticity than the transition rates (gi). Overall, adult survival had the highest influence on λ followed by immature survival, egg survival, and female fecundity. Consequently, management efforts that aim at decreasing adult survival are likely to yield the best results with regard to reducing the growth rate of T. urticae.
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