Effect of UV-Absorbing Nets on the Performance of the Aphid Predator Sphaerophoria Rueppellii (Diptera: Syrphidae)
Photoselective nets have proven to be effective for aphid pest control as they limit their dispersal ability. However, little is known on the impact of such nets on natural enemies of aphids. In this work, we study the effect of UV-absorbing nets on the syrphid fly Sphaerophoria rueppellii Wiedemann (Diptera: Syrphidae), a commercially available aphid biocontrol agent in Mediterranean horticultural crops. First, we released mature syrphid adults and evaluated density and dispersal of the
... ersal of the resulting immatures in a turnip crop grown under either UV-blocking (Bionet) or standard net. Second, we assessed, under controlled conditions, the impact of UV radiation on fitness-related parameters, and on flight behavior of S. rueppellii adults. Results showed that, while syprhid immature density was higher, their dispersion was reduced under Bionet. UV-absorbing nets are known to influence the dispersion pattern of aphids, which may have indirectly conditioned the distribution of their predator S. rueppellii. On the other hand, the type of net had no influence on the performance of adults. We conclude that the use of photoselective nets and the release of syrphid predators such S. rueppellii are compatible strategies to be used in IPM aphid-control programs.