Egg hatching response to a range of ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation doses for four predatory mites and the herbivorous spider mite Tetranychus urticae
Ambient ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation impacts plant-dwelling arthropods including herbivorous and predatory mites. However, the effects of UVB on prey–predator systems, such as that between the herbivorous spider mite and predatory phytoseiid mite, are poorly understood. A comparative study was conducted to determine the vulnerability and behavioral responses of these mites to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. First, we analyzed dose–response (cumulative irradiance-mortality) curves for the eggs of phytoseiid mites (Neoseiulus californicus, Neoseiulus womersleyi, and Phytoseiulus persimilis) and the spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) to UVB radiation from a UV lamp. This indicated that the phytoseiid mites were more vulnerable than the spider mite, although P. persimilis was slightly more tolerant than the other two phytoseiid mites. Second, we compared the avoidance behavior of adult female N. californicus and two spider mite species (T. urticae, a lower leaf surface user; Panonychus citri, an upper leaf surface user) in response to solar UV and visible light. N. californicus actively avoided both types of radiation, whereas P. citri showed only minimal avoidance behavior. T. urticae actively avoided UV as well as N. californicus but exhibited a slow response to visible light as well as P. citri. Such variation in vulnerability and avoidance behavior accounts for differences in the species adaptations to solar UVB radiation. This may be the primary factor determining habitat use among these mites on host plant leaves, subsequently affecting accessibility by predators and also intraguild competition.