New Record and Predatory Activity of Hyperaspis Campestris (Herbst 1783) (Coleoptera : Coccinellidae) on Dactylopius Opuntiae (HEMIPTERA: DACTYLOPIIDAE) in Morocco
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The Opuntia cochineal scale Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell) (Hemiptera: Dacty lopiidae) causes severe damage to prickly pear (Opuntia sp.). This cochineal was ﬁrst detected in Morocco in fall 2014 during sampling in the cactus crop in the Sidi Bennour region. In an attempt to find natural enemies that have a potential to be used as biological control agents, a team of researchers have conducted surveys in cactus production areas. In July of 2017, an unidentified coccinellid species was observed feeding actively on D. opuntiaein the Zemamra locality (Sidi Bennour, Morocco). The aim of this paper is to report the identification of this coccinellid and to confirm that D. opuntiae can be a prey of this newly recorded species. The coccinellid was identified as Hyper aspis campestris (Herbst, 1783). Under laboratory conditions, feeding habits were studied, and it was confirmed that adults of H. campestris can feed on both first and second instar of D. opuntiae. Preliminary trials showed that one adult of H. campestris consumed an average of 10 and 7.5 larvae of first and second larval instars of D. opuntiae in 24h, respectively. This is the first record of H. campestris as a biological control agent of D. opuntiae. This finding can be considered as part of an IPM program to control the wild cochineal cactus scale and reduce the pesticides used on this crop.