Worldwide, the potato tuber moth (PTM), Phthorimaea operculella (Zeller), is one of the most severe pests affecting potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), whether in open-air crops or during tuber storage. This work examines the potential control of this pest by two species of predatory mites, Macrocheles robustulus (Berlese) and Blattisocius tarsalis (Berlese), on pest eggs under laboratory conditions. In the two first assays, the acceptance rate of the pest eggs was assessed for each predatory mite. Then, in a third assay, the functional response of B. tarsalis was studied. The results showed that Macrocheles robustulus did not prey on the pest eggs (number of eggs surviving = 4.33 ± 0.38), whereas B. tarsalis did (number of eggs surviving = 0.5 ± 0.5). Likewise, B. tarsalis showed a type II functional response when it killed the eggs. The results showed the potential use of Blattisocius tarsalis as a biological control agent of P. operculella in potato under storage conditions.
Keywords: Blattisocius tarsalis; Macrocheles robustulus; Phthorimaea operculella; functional response; prey acceptance.