Costamagna, A. C., D. A. Landis, and M. J. Brewer. 2008. The role of natural enemy guilds in Aphis glycines suppression. Biological Control 45:368-379.
Generalist natural enemy guilds are increasingly recognized as important sources of mortality for invasive agricultural pests. However, the net contribution of different species to pest suppression is conditioned by their biology and interspecific interactions. The soybean aphid, Aphis glycines (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is widely attacked by generalist predators, but the relative impacts of different natural enemy guilds remains poorly understood. Moreover, low levels of A. glycines parasitism suggest that resident parasitoids may be limited through intraguild predation. During 2004 and 2005, we conducted field experiments to test the impact of different guilds of natural enemies on A. glycines. We contrasted aphid abundance on field cages with ambient levels of small predators (primarily Orius insidiosus) and parasitoids (primarily Braconidae), sham cages and open controls exposed to large predators (primarily coccinellids), and cages excluding all natural enemies. We observed strong aphid suppression (86- to 36-fold reduction) in treatments exposed to coccinellids, but only minor reduction due to small predators and parasitoids, with aphids reaching rapidly economic injury levels when coccinellids were excluded. Three species of resident parasitoids were found attacking A. glycines at very low levels (<1% parasitism), with no evidence that intraguild predation by coccinellids attenuated parasitoid impacts. At the plant level, coccinellid impacts resulted in a trophic cascade that restored soybean biomass and yield, whereas small natural enemies provided only minor protection against yield loss. Our results indicate that within the assemblage of A. glycines natural enemies in Michigan, coccinellids are critical to maintain aphids below economic injury levels.
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