The potential of Neoseiulus barkeri Hughes (Acari: Phytoseiidae) as a biological control agent has been widely studied and demonstrated against several pest species, mainly against pest mites. However, its potential has not been assessed with tenuipalpid mites, which emerged as a threat to agriculture, especially in coconut and banana crops. The potential of natural enemies can be predicted through life history tests; thus, we conducted experiments to determine the life history parameters of N. barkeri that fed on tenuipalpid mite Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) individuals of different developmental stages. Neoseiulus barkeri successfully completed its development by feeding on R. indica of all developmental stages; there were no differences in survivorship during the entire immature period (always above 95%) irrespective of the developmental stages of the R. indica used. The average oviposition period was 27 days with an average fecundity of 56.2 eggs/female. Positive ri values obtained for all prey developmental stages indicated that R. indica of all developmental stages is suitable to support the population growth of N. barkeri. Additionally, the life table parameters of N. barkeri recorded in this study [net reproductive rate (R0= 37.9 female/female), intrinsic rate of increase (rm = 0.22 female/female/day), finite rate of increase (λ = 1.24 female/female/day), mean generation time (T = 16.67 days), and population doubling time (DT = 3.18 days)] show that N. barkeri performed excellently when feeding on R. indica eggs. Our results show that the prey species R. indica is a suitable food source for the predatory species N. barkeri.
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Vol. 25 • No. 8