Diel activity pattern and predation rate of the generalist predator Dicyphus hesperus

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata





First Page


Last Page



Abstract This study examined the diel activity pattern and the effect of diel activity pattern on predation rate and prey finding of Dicyphus hesperus Knight (Heteroptera: Miridae). To determine the diel activity pattern of D. hesperus, starved females were placed on tomato leaflets Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. (Solanaceae) under zero, low, or high light intensities at 02:00, 08:00, and 14:00 h, respectively, and the amount of time spent walking or resting during a 30-min interval was recorded. Predation rates of D. hesperus females on Ephestia kuehniella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) egg patches were determined under either a L16:D8 (long day) or L8:D16 (short day) diel period. Egg patches were removed from D. hesperus females after either 8 or 16 h of dark or 16 or 8 h of light, and the number of eggs consumed was counted. Dicyphus hesperus females spent more time searching for prey at night than during the day. Females ate eggs at a higher rate during the night than during the day. Overall, D. hesperus females had higher predation rates when reared under a long day diel cycle compared with females reared under a short day diel cycle. More females reared at the L16:D8 diel cycle found the egg patch during the night than during the day. There was no difference in egg patch finding between night and day for females reared at L8:D16. Overall, L16:D8 reared females found more egg patches than females reared at L8:D16. Therefore, D. hesperus females are more active and find and consume prey at a higher rate at night than day.