Macrolophus pygmaeus

Macrolophus pygmaeus (Rambur)

Taxonomic position: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Hempitera, Heteroptera, Miridae.

Geographic distribution: Almost worldwide.

Morphology: Adults about 3-6 mm in length, green, with long legs and antennae, the nymphs also yellowish-green to green.

Life history: Macrolophus caliginosus is a polyphagous predator that feeds mainly on whiteflies and aphids, and to a lesser degree on thrips and on spider mites. When feeding on Myzus persicae or on Trialeurodes vaporariorum at 20ºC, a female laid about 220 eggs and at 25ºC lived for about 8 weeks. This mirid actively forages for prey, inserting its mouthparts into it and sucking out the body fluids. The predator can also feed and survive on crop plants, such as eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) and tomato, but cannot lay eggs on the latter. Other plants, especially Solanaceae, also serve as food; the weed Solanum nigrum L. facilitates the predator’s conservation in open fields.

Economic importance: This mirid is an efficient predator of major pests in protected tomato crops. These pests include whiteflies, aphids, spider mites, the tomato leaf miner and others. The predator is mass-reared by several companies (for instance, sold as “Mirical” by Koppert Biological Systems).

The joint release of M. pygmaeus and the aphelinid parasitoid Eretmocerus mundus Mercet did not increase the control of B. tabaci, due to interference between these two enemies.

By its wounding and sucking from tomato fruits, M. pygmaeus may cause economic damage at predator densities common in practice, damage that can be aggravated by the presence of Pepino mosaic virus.

Effect of Pesticides: A carbamate and spinosad caused close to 100% and 80% mortality, whereas abamectin and neem compounds were relatively harmless.


Arnó, J., Gabarra, R., 2011. Side effects of selected insecticides on the Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) predators Macrolophus pygmaeus and Nesidiocoris tenuis (Hemiptera: Miridae). Journal of Pest Science 84: 513–520.

De Backer, L., Megido, R.C., Haubruge, É. And Verheggen, F.J. 2014, Macrolophus pygmaeus (Rambur) as an efficient predator of the tomato leafminer Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) in Europe. A review. Biotechnology, Agronomy and Society and Environment 18: 536-543.

Lykouressis, D., Giatropoulos, A., Perdikis, D. and Favas, C., 2008. Assessing the suitability of noncultivated plants and associated insect prey as food sources for the omnivorous predator Macrolophus pygmaeus (Hemiptera: Miridae). Biological Control 44: 142–148.

Malo, S., Arnó, J. and Gabarra, R. 2012. Intraguild interactions between the predator Macrolophus pygmaeus and the parasitoid Eretmocerus mundus, natural enemies of Bemisia tabaci Biocontrol Science and Technology 22: 1059-1073.

Martinou A.F., Seraphides, N. and Stavrinides, M.C. 2014. Lethal and behavioral effects of pesticides on the insect predator Macrolophus pygmaeus. Chemosphere 96: 167–173.

Moerkens, R. (and 10 co-authors). 2016. High population densities of Macrolophus pygmaeus on tomato plants can cause economic fruit damage: Interaction with Pepino mosaic virus? Pest Management Science 72: 1350-1358.

Moerkens, R. (and 7 co-authors). 2017 .Inoculative release strategies of Macrolophus pygmaeus Rambur (Hemiptera: Miridae) in tomato crops: population dynamics and dispersal. Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection 124: 295–303.

Perdikis, D.C., and Lykouressis, D.P. 2004. Macrolophus pygmaeus (Hemiptera: Miridae) population parameters and biological characteristics when feeding on eggplant and tomato without prey. Journal of Economic Entomology 97: 1291-1298.

Perdikis, D. C., and Lykouressis, D. P. 2002. Life table and biological characteristics of Macrolophus pygmaeus when feeding on Myzus persicae and Trialeurodes vaporariorum. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 102: 261–272.