, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 1291–1300 | Cite as

Lethal effect of imidacloprid on the coccinellid predator Serangium japonicum and sublethal effects on predator voracity and on functional response to the whitefly Bemisia tabaci

  • Yuxian He
  • Jianwei Zhao
  • Yu Zheng
  • Nicolas Desneux
  • Kongming Wu


Neonicotinoid insecticides are widely used for controlling sucking pests, and sublethal effects can be expected in beneficial arthropods like natural enemies. Serangium japonicum is an important predator in many agricultural systems in China, and a potential biological control agent against Bemisia tabaci. We evaluated the toxicity of imidacloprid to S. japonicum and its impact on the functional response to B. tabaci eggs. S. japonicum adults exposed through contact to dried residues of imidacloprid at the recommended field rate on cotton against B. tabaci (4 g active ingredient per 100 l, i.e. 40 ppm [part per million]), and reduced rates (25, 20, 15 and 10 ppm) for 24 h showed high mortality rates. The mortality induced by a lowest rate, 5 ppm, was not significantly different than the control group and thus it was considered as a sublethal rate. The lethal rate 50 and hazard quotient (HQ) were estimated to be 11.54 ppm and 3.47 respectively, indicating a risk for S. japonicum in treated fields (HQ > 2). When exposed to dried residues of imidacloprid at the sublethal rate (5 ppm) on cotton leaves, functional response of S. japonicum to B. tabaci eggs was affected with an increase in handling time and a reduction in peak consumption of eggs. Imidacloprid residues also disturbed predator voracity, the number of B. tabaci eggs consumed on treated leaves being significantly lower than on untreated leaves. All effects disappeared within a few hours after transfer to untreated cotton leaves. Imidacloprid systemically applied at the recommended field rate (for cotton) showed no toxicity to S. japonicum, nor affected the functional response of the predator. Sublethal effects of imidacloprid on S. japonicum observed in our study likely negatively affect S. japonicum development and reproductive capacity and may ultimately reduce predator population growth. These results hint at the importance of assessing potential effects of imidacloprid on S. japonicum for developing effective integrated pest management programs of B. tabaci in China.


Toxicity Hazard quotient Neonicotinoid Risk assessment Integrated pest management 



This research was funded by financial assistance from Fujian Science and Technology Agency of China (2008J0062) and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (2006CB102004).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuxian He
    • 1
  • Jianwei Zhao
    • 1
  • Yu Zheng
    • 1
  • Nicolas Desneux
    • 2
  • Kongming Wu
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Plant ProtectionFujian Academy of Agricultural SciencesFuzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA)Sophia AntipolisFrance
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant ProtectionChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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