Methodology for biological studies of mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)
Keywords:Coccoidea, development, biology, clip cages, leaf sections
AbstractSeveral methodologies have been used in biological studies of mealybugs (Pseudococcidae) in the laboratory. The objective of this work was to compare three methodologies in order to establish a pattern for development studies. The development nymphal period and mortality of the citrus mealybug, Planococcus citri (Risso, 1813), was evaluated in PVC clip cages of 10 and 30 mm in diameter attached to leaves of coffee plants (Coffea arabica L. cv. Acaia Cerrado), and on leaf sections placed over an agar film layer. Forty mealybug eggs were individually placed on the substrate and evaluated daily. The data were submitted to analysis of variance followed by the Test of Tukey (p≤ 0.005). Differences were detected in citrus mealybug nymphal development period and mortality depending on the used methodology. The shortest period and the lowest mortality were obtained using foliar sections maintained in agar-water which appears to be a viable methodology for mealybug studies in the laboratory. The excessive insect manipulation seems to be the main negative factor in mealybug development when using clip cages fixed to plant leaves.
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