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Ciencia e investigación agraria

On-line version ISSN 0718-1620


VILLEGAS, Cinthya M et al. Movement between crops and weeds: temporal refuges for aphidophagous insects in Central Chile. Cienc. Inv. Agr. [online]. 2013, vol.40, n.2, pp.317-326. ISSN 0718-1620.

C.M. Villegas, J.A. Verdugo, A.A. Grez, J. Tapia, and B. Lavandero. 2013. Movement between crops and weeds: temporal refuges for aphidophagous insects in Central Chile. Cien. Inv. Agr. 40(2): 317-326. Crop edges have significant effects on populations of natural enemies, acting as source or sink habitats during the growing season. Previous observations have shown that coccinellid species are associated with thistle (Sylibum marianum (L.) Gaertn), a common exotic weed in the central valley of Chile. To determine whether thistles growing at crop edges act as a putative refuge for natural enemies, the seasonal relative abundance of aphidophagous coccinellids was estimated at 0, 10 and 25 m from the edges of three alfalfa fields. Mark-recapture studies were carried out using the trace element rubidium (Rb) to determine whether coccinellids moved between the edges and the alfalfa. The most common aphidophagous coccinellid species were Hippodamia convergens (63%), H. variegata (11%), Rhyzobius lophantae (4%) and Adalia angulifera (4%). In mid-November, the abundance of coccinellids at the edge of (0 m from the edge) the alfalfa plot increased compared to that at the center of the field (25 m from the edge), coinciding with a reduction in the population of aphids at all sampling points. Of the coccinellids captured at the thistle edge, 68% were marked with rubidium, suggesting movement of coccinellids from the alfalfa plot to the thistle growing at its edges. After the thistles were removed, coccinellids returned to the crop, as shown by the presence of marked coccinellids within the alfalfa fields at all three sampling distances. The results of this study suggest that thistles can act as a refuge for coccinellids when aphids are not available in the alfalfa fields.

Keywords : Alfalfa; coccinellids; refuges; rubidium; thistle.

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