Molecular assessment of predation by hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) in Mediterranean lettuce crops

Priscila Gomez-Polo, Oscar Alomar, Cristina Castañé, Jonathan G. Lundgren, Josep Piñol, Nuria Agustí

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Society of Chemical Industry. BACKGROUND: Hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) are generalist predators of a great variety of pests. Nasonovia ribisnigri (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) are two common pests in Mediterranean lettuce crops, where they occur alongside alternative prey (e.g. Collembola). A semi-field experiment was conducted in an experimental lettuce plot where hoverfly predation on N. ribisnigri, F. occidentalis and Collembola was studied by conventional PCR and qPCR using specific primers, as well as by next-generation sequencing (NGS) in order to reveal other potential trophic interactions. RESULTS: Trophic linkages between hoverflies and N. ribisnigri were the strongest both in spring and summer. F. occidentalis and Collembolans were also detected in both seasons, but with less frequency. qPCR detected a higher frequency of consumption than conventional PCR when both tests were run at optimal conditions. NGS analyses showed intraguild predation on other hoverfly species, as well as on anthocorids, spiders and even aphid parasitoids. CONCLUSIONS: Conventional PCR and qPCR provided important insights into Mediterranean hoverfly species predation on target pest and non-pest prey. NGS gave a complementary approach revealing a broader diet of these predators within the studied ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1227
JournalPest Management Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Conventional PCR
  • Gut content analysis
  • Hoverflies
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Polyphagous predators
  • qPCR


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular assessment of predation by hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) in Mediterranean lettuce crops'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this