Indexed on: 22 Dec '14Published on: 22 Dec '14Published in: Experimental and Applied Acarology
Crop management practices determine weed community, which in turn may influence patterns of diversity and abundance of associated arthropods. This study aimed to evaluate whether local weed management practices influence the diversity and relative abundance of phytophagous and predatory mites, as well as mites with undefined feeding habits--of the families Oribatidae and Acaridae--in a physic nut (Jatropha curcas L.) plantation subjected to (1) within-row herbicide spraying and between-row mowing; (2) within-row herbicide spraying and no between-row mowing; (3) within-row weeding and between-row mowing; (4) within-row weeding and no between-row mowing; and (5) unmanaged (control). The herbicide used was glyphosate. Herbicide treatments resulted in higher diversity and relative abundance of predatory mites and mites with undefined feeding habit on physic nut shrubs. This was probably due to the toxic effects of the herbicide on mites or to removal of weeds. Within-row herbicide spraying combined with between-row mowing was the treatment that most contributed to this effect. Our results show that within-row weeds harbor important species of predatory mites and mites with undefined feeding habit. However, the dynamics of such mites in the system can be changed according to the weed management practice applied. Among the predatory mites of the family Phytoseiidae Amblydromalus sp. was the most abundant, whereas Brevipalpus phoenicis was the most frequent phytophagous mite and an unidentified oribatid species was the most frequent mite with undefined feeding habit.