Evaluating intraspecific genetic variation for phytophagy in Nesidiocoris tenuis

Published on
August 24, 2018

The use of zoophytophagous predators in crops has increased in the last decade due to the ability of these species to remain in the plants at low prey densities, thus reducing the need of several releases of these biocontrol agents during the production season. Nesidiocoris tenuis is one of these predators widely used in cultivated tomatoes across the Mediterranean basin. It has proven to be successful controlling key pests in tomato, but the damages inflicted by its phytophagy (e.g. necrotic rings in stem, wilting and fruit puncturing) when prey is scarce have prompted research initiatives such as my PhD project. A great deal of my thesis is focused on explaining the mechanisms involved in the damage, to explore breeding possibilities for less phytophagous strains.

Milena Chinchilla Ramírez MSc.