Do Development and Diet Determine the Degree of Cannibalism in Insects? To Eat or Not to Eat Conspecifics
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Cannibalism in insects plays an important role in ecological relationships. Nonetheless, it has not been studied as extensively as in other arthropods groups (e.g., Arachnida). From a theoretical point of view, cannibalism has an impact on the development of more realistic stage-structure mathematical models. Additionally, it has a practical application for biological pest control, both in mass-rearing and out in the field through inoculative releases. In this paper, the cannibalistic behavior of two species of predatory bugs was studied under laboratory conditions—one of them a generalist predator (strictly carnivorous), Nabis pseudoferus, and the other a true omnivore (zoophytophagous), Nesidiocoris tenuis—and compared with the intraguild predation (IGP) behavior. The results showed that cannibalism in N. pseudoferus was prevalent in all the developmental stages studied, whereas in N. tenuis, cannibalism was rarely observed, and it was restricted mainly to the first three nymphal sta...