Preliminary Observations on Zelus obscuridorsis (Stål) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) as Predator of the Corn Leafhopper (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) in Argentina

Insects. 2015 Jun 3;6(2):508-13. doi: 10.3390/insects6020508.


The corn leafhopper Dalbulus maidis (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), is an important corn pest in most of tropical and subtropical America. This leafhopper has a rich natural enemy complex of which parasitoids and pathogens are the most studied; knowledge on its predators is limited. We noted the presence of the native assassin bug Zelus obscuridorsis (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) predating diverse motile insects, including the corn leafhopper, on corn plants cultivated in household vegetable gardens in San Miguel de Tucumán (Argentina); in order to verify its predatory actions, we exposed lab-bred individuals of D. maidis to adults of Z. obscuridorsis. The predators were starved for 24 h before trials in which the corn leafhopper in different developmental stages were exposed. Zelus obscuridorsis is highly skilled in catching specimens in motion, but it was not able to prey on eggs. The predator was capable to catch and prey on nymphs and adults.

Keywords: Dalbulus maidis; assassin bug; biological control; corn diseases; vector.