Interactions in a tritrophic acarine predator– prey metapopulation system: prey location and distance moved by Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae)
Virtual plant models of plant architecture have been developed to examine the impact of canopy structure and connectedness on the location of prey by randomly moving predators. The results show that as canopy connectedness increases, the time to locate a static prey decreases, but that the time to prey location increases with the complexity of the canopy. These results are important for the development of biological control strategies as they indicate that canopy architecture has a major impact on the efficiency with which predators locate prey. Therefore, consideration of canopy architecture needs to be accounted for when developing release strategies for biocontrol agents.