Evidence for utilization of Diptera in the diet of field-collected coccinellid larvae from an antibody-based detection system

Susan E. Moser, Yukie Kajita, James D. Harwood, John J. Obrycki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Aphidophagous coccinellid larvae have a wide range of potential prey in alfalfa and during times of low aphid abundance, larvae may supplement their diet with alternative prey. To understand the effects of the seasonal aphid availability on alternative prey use, an order-specific monoclonal antibody, DrosW-VI-B8, was used to examine the frequency of dipteran predation by these important natural enemies. Over 400 larvae were hand-collected from alfalfa and, in parallel, arthropod abundance was recorded. Harmonia axyridis and Coccinella septempunctata larvae were abundant early in the season when aphid populations were at their peak and Coleomegilla maculata larvae were collected later in the season when potato leafhoppers were abundant in the alfalfa. A relatively low proportion of field-collected H. axyridis, C. septempunctata, and C. maculata tested positive for dipteran proteins throughout the season. Similar to prior studies examining stage differences in coccinellid food breadth, older instars tested positive for dipteran proteins (3rd instar, 6% positive; 4th instar, 7% positive) but no early instars screened positive. This study provides a valuable insight into the trophic linkages that exist between coccinellid larvae and Diptera.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-254
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks to C. Fox and B. Wallin for laboratory assistance. Thanks also to R. Bessin, K. Haynes, J. Snyder, D. Westneat, K. Yeargan, and twoanonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. S.E.M. was supported by a Graduate Research Assistantship from the Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky. This is publication number 10-08-075 of the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • Alternative prey
  • Gut-content analysis
  • Intraguild predation
  • Predatory lady beetles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science


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