Diagnostic Tool


Predators of insects

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Predatory behavior is widespread among insects, spiders and mites. There are more than 40 families of insect predators that are significant for pest suppression in agriculture and forestry (Table 1). Of these, the Anthocoridae, Pentatomidae, Reduviidae, Carabidae, Coccinellidae, Staphylinidae, Chrysopidae, Cecidomyiidae, Syrphidae, Formicidae, Gerridae, Miridae, Vellidae and Dytiscidae are most commonly found preying on pest species in crop fields.

Virtually all members of all the 60 families of spiders (Araneae) are predators. Of the 27 or more families of order Acari (mites) that prey on or parasitze other invertebrates, eight are significant for biological control. Vertebrate predators that attack insect pests include birds, small mammals (bats), lizards, amphibians (frogs and toads), and fishes.

Table 1. Important families/groups of predacious arthropods and vertebrates (adopted from Driesche and Bellows, 1996).