Why eat extrafloral nectar? Understanding food selection by Coleomegilla maculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)
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Lundgren, Jonathan G.
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Methods of increasing predator abundance within a habitat include the incorporation of non-prey food items, yet the influence of this on predation intensity toward herbivores remains unknown. In order to gain an understanding of nectar feeding in the predaceous beetle, Coleomegilla maculata (DeGeer), laboratory studies were conducted evaluating prey consumption in the presence of extrafloral nectaries. The physiology of beetles with access to prey only and a mixed diet were compared. To elucidate results of beetle physiology, Y-tube olfactometer studies were conducted and preferences between food types evaluated. Coleomegilla maculata females consumed 9 % fewer aphids when nectar was available. Lipid and glycogen content, as well as oocyte volume were not increased upon consumption of a mixed diet. Evaluation of predator behavior when offered both food resources together and separately demonstrated that extrafloral nectaries are attractive.