The suitability of Tenebrio molitor Linn. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) and Corcyra cephalonica Stainton (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) larvae as food sources for the general insect predator, Sycanus dichotomus Stal. (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) was evaluated by examining the effects of different prey consumption on the predator’s growth parameters and longevity. The growth parameters assessed in this study were developmental period, body weight and femur length. Compared to single prey species, a combination of prey consisting of C. cephalonica and T. molitor larvae generally increased the growth and development of nymphal and adult stages of S. dichotomus. Different food sources showed different degrees of suitability: C. cephalonica significantly (P<0.01) shortened the developmental period of nymphal and adult stages compared to T. molitor larvae and combination of both larvae by 17.5% and 6.9%, respectively. Moreover, C. cephalonica larvae alone represent a more suitable food source for 1st and 2nd nymph instars development, compared to late nymphs and adults. However, the combination of both larvae had the shortest nymph’s developmental period (95 days), higher body weight and longer femur length, plus improved the adults’ longevity (69 days). The ratio of male adults was higher in the treatment which fed on T. molitor larvae and combination of both larvae, in contrast to the C. cephalonica larvae treatment. It is suggested that future works should examine the nutritional quality of the prey species to support these findings.
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.
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