Taxonomic placing: Acari Mesostigmata, Phytoseiidae.

Geographic distribution: Worldwide, due to being in commerce.

Host plants: Many indigenous and introduced plants.

Morphology: The body of non-feeding adults is yellowish, that of feeding mites often the color of the prey. The dorsum is 0.5-1.0 mm in length, almost smooth or lightly sclerotized, with some reticulations and 17 pairs of short, nude setae. The sternal plate bears 3 pairs of setae, and there is a single macroseta on leg IV.

Life history: The mites complete a generation in 1-2 weeks at 25°C, live for 4-5 weeks and lays about 30 eggs/female, depending on the available diet (prey and/or pollen). They may even feed on young stages of other Phytoseiidae. For commerce they are mass-reared on stored-food mites, such as various Acaridae.

Economic importance: These predators prey on and control several major pests, including thrips, such Thrips tabaci and Frankliniella occidentalis and the pestiferous psyllid Diaphorina citri Kuwayama. Other prey include Acarine pests, such as broad mite and Phytonemus pallidus (Banks), as well as several pestiferous spider mites (Tetranychidae). All three species are being produced and sold by several companies world-wide.

Effect of pesticides: Most pesticides kill these predators but spinosads and Insect growth regulators have little effect. They survive low, but not high, rates of some oils and of insecticidal soaps. Neem induced repellency and reduced fecundity.

Important species of Neoseiulus in the Middle East

Neoseiulus barkeri Hughes is an indigenous efficient predator of thrips, broad mite and spider mites.

Neoseiulus californicus (McGregor) is an effective natural enemy of citrus and avocado spider mites. It was introduced into Israel but its numbers declined due to competition with indigenous phytoseiids. An artificial diet for this predator is available.

Neoseiulus cucumeris (Oudemans) (initially known as Typhlodromus thripsi MacGill and then as Amblyseius cucumeris (Oudemans )) was the first phytoseiid shown to prey on thrips. It is an indigenous species that feeds on thrips and on spider mites. Abroad it attcaks the pestiferous Diaphorina citri.


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