Detecting aphid predation by earwigs in organic citrus orchards using molecular markers

C. Romeu-Dalmau, J. Piñol, N. Agustí

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Aphids (Hemiptera: Aphidoidea) can damage citrus trees via direct damage to leaves and flowers or via the indirect transmission of viruses. Predators such as the European earwig, Forficula auricularia Linnaeus (Dermaptera: Forficulidae), may assist in keeping aphid populations under control in citrus orchards. Group-specific primers were developed to detect aphid DNA in earwigs, in order to determine earwig predation rates in aphids in Mediterranean organic citrus trees. These primers were designed in accordance with the alignment of comparable sequences of aphids and earwigs, and they amplified a 224 bp fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) region. Following the consumption of three to five Aphis spiraecola Patch, aphid DNA was still detectable in 50% of earwigs one day after the ingestion. When predation was evaluated in the field, aphid DNA was detected in earwigs in May, June and July but not in April and August. The most interesting result is that of May, when aphid abundance was very low but 30% of the earwigs tested positive for aphid DNA. This finding suggests that earwigs are important aphid predators in citrus orchards, as they probably alter aphid dynamics as a result of early seasonal pressure on this pest. Copyright © 2012 Cambridge University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-572
JournalBulletin of Entomological Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Aphis spiraecola
  • COI
  • Dermaptera
  • Forficula auricularia
  • gut-content analysis
  • PCR


Dive into the research topics of 'Detecting aphid predation by earwigs in organic citrus orchards using molecular markers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this