The presence of weeds in the margins of strawberry crops can enhance populations of predatory mites as a measure to support conservation biological control. The aims of this study were (i) to assess the composition of the acarofauna associated with strawberries and the accompanying herbaceous plants in an organic farming system, and (ii) to evaluate the possible relationships between phytophagous and predatory mites occurring in this system. Strawberry leaves and whole plants of weeds were sampled biweekly from August 2014 to February 2015 in Lapa (Paraná, Brazil). In total, 23 weed species belonging to 10 families were identified; 3768 mite individuals (from 15 families and 4 suborders) were recovered, 77% on strawberries and 23% on weeds. Abundance of predatory mites on weeds was greater than on strawberry cultivars. On strawberries, the most abundant family was Tetranychidae (84%) followed by Phytoseiidae (11.6%). In total, 16 predatory mite species from the Phytoseiidae family were identified, 13 of them occurring on strawberry leaflets. Typholodromalus aripo, Neoseiulus californicus and Typhlodromips mangleae were the most abundant mite species on strawberry leaves. On weeds, most individuals were predatory mites (59%), whereas phytophagous mites represented 17.2%. The most abundant family was Phytoseiidae (36.4%). On weeds, the phytoseiid mite T. aripo was the most abundant species, representing 34.7%. Besides being found on strawberry leaflets, T. aripo was associated with 15 weed species. Among the weeds, Bidens pilosa showed the highest values of the Shannon index (1.97), Margalef index (3.04), and Pielou's evenness index (0.95). This study emphasizes the importance of surrounding weeds as a shelter for beneficial mitefauna in strawberry fields, likely contributing to enhance conservation biological control.
Keywords: Bidens pilosa; Conservation biocontrol; Fragaria x ananassa; Tetranychus urticae; Typhlodromips mangleae; Typholodromalus aripo.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.