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Title: The role of Pterostichus madidus and Nebria brevicollis as predators of the slug Deroceras reticulatum
Author: Mair, Jacqueline
ISNI:       0000 0001 3616 9682
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2000
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Slugs are important pests in many agricultural crops and potential biological control agents are being studied as an alternative to molluscicide application. The role of the carabids Pterostichus madidus (Fabricius) and Nebria brevicollis (Fabricius) as predators of the slug Deroceras reticulatum (MUller) was examined in the laboratory. These generalist beetle species were only capable of killing small, healthy slugs (<0.1 ig) as they were unable to overcome the defence mucus production of larger slugs. Dead slugs were scavenged in preference to killing healthy slugs. The relatively high proportion of positive serological results from field caught carabids may reflect a high scavenging rate rather than actual predation on live slugs. Slugs are difficult prey items for generalist beetles to overcome due to their defence mucus production. Results suggest that few slugs will be consumed in the presence of alternative prey which are less difficult for beetles to overcome. Slugs which could no longer produce defence mucus were readily attacked by both beetle species. Although beetles killed few healthy slugs the presence of beetles influenced slug behaviour with slugs of all sizes foraging for shorter periods of time. Any reduction in slug activity on the soil surface would in turn lead to a reduction in seedling damage. The results suggest that the role of potential predators in pest control can only be evaluated fully with a detailed understanding of their behaviour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Beetles; Foraging; Carabid