Phenology and interspecific association of Forficula auricularia and Forficula pubescens in apple orchards

Jaume Lordan, Simó Alegre, Rob Moerkens, María-José Sarasúa, Georgina Alins

Abstract


The European earwig Forficula auricularia L. (Dermaptera: Forficulidae) has been widely studied as a key predator of pests in temperate regions, but its phenology and behavior may differ in warmer areas such as the Mediterranean. Here we assessed the phenology, aggregation, and interspecific association of F. auricularia and Forficula pubescens Gené, the only two species found consistently in both ground and canopy shelters in Mediterranean apple orchards. In addition to F. auricularia and F. pubescens, three other earwig species, namely Labidura riparia Pallas, Nala lividipes Dufour and Euborellia moesta Gené, were found occasionally. The mature stages of F. auricularia were observed mainly from May to November in tree shelters and immature ones from October to June in ground shelters. Adult individuals of F. pubescens were observed year-round and nymph instars were detected from April to June in ground as well as in tree shelters. The suitability of the current degree-days models for temperate regions was evaluated for the prediction of European earwig phenology in a Mediterranean climate. Regarding interspecific association, F. auricularia and F. pubescens co-occurred in canopies without apparent competition. This study provides useful weekly data about the phenology of the two earwig species throughout the year that can be used to detect the key periods during which to enhance their populations in pip fruit orchards or to control them in stone fruit crops. Furthermore, our results are of relevance for the development of new phenological models of earwigs in Mediterranean areas where nymphs hibernate, a feature that makes current models inaccurate.


Keywords


biological control; Dermaptera; earwig; Forficulidae; Mediterranean; pest

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2015131-6814