Small-sized predators in the aphidophagous guild of Aphis gossypii Glover colonies on hibiscus trees in Japan exploit aphids at low prey abundance. Scymnus (Pullus) posticalis Sicard beetles were the first predatory species to attack aphids in the spring, and their larvae co-occurred with larvae of Eupeodes freguens (Matsumura) syrphids in aphid-infested leaves of hibiscus for 3 weeks in absence of large-sized coccinellid predators. Larval interaction between Scymnus and syrphid predators was examined in relation to effectiveness of wax cover of Scymnus against predation from syrphids. Waxless first instar larvae were not protected but wax-covered larvae of second, third and fourth instars were protected from predation by syrphid larvae. The protection was lower in the second instar which has a thin wax cover and significantly higher in the third and fourth instars having a thick wax cover. In addition, larvae from which the wax was removed were significantly more vulnerable to predation. Vulnerability of Scymnus larvae to predation from syrphids was directly related to the thickness of wax cover. Results suggest that the wax cover of Scymnus larvae act as an effective defence mechanism against predation from syrphid larvae.
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