Biological control of the bulb mite, Rhizoglyphus robini, by the predatory mite, Hypoaspis aculeifer, on lilies: predator-prey interactions at various spatial scales.

Published online
05 Sep 1996
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Lesna, I. & Sabelis, M. & Conijn, C.

Publication language


Experiments in closed jars with lily bulbs at 25°C showed that the predator, Hypoaspis aculeifer, can suppress populations of its prey, Rhizoglyphus robini, to very low levels. When the bulbs were decomposed into scales, the prey was suppressed earlier, supposedly because of increased accessibility to the sites where bulb mites reside. Repeating the experiment in open jars also led to strong suppression of the prey population: the predators did not leave the jars until almost all prey was eaten. To assess the possibility for biological control of R. robini on lilies at a larger spatial scale, experiments were carried out in closed plastic bags filled with lily bulb scales and vermiculite. H. aculeifer was able to suppress its prey to very low densities but prey suppression took longer. The results of these small- and large-scale population experiments suggest that local predator-prey interactions are very unstable despite the presence of refuges and spatial complexity.

Key words