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Biodiversity, Seasonal Abundance, and Population Dynamics Assessment of Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) from Maize Crops

Biodiversity, Seasonal Abundance, and Population Dynamics Assessment of Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) from Maize Crops

Naveed Akhtar, Hafiz Muhammad Tahir*, Azizullah, Aamir Ali

Department of Zoology, Government College University Lahore, Pakistan.

 
Corresponding Author: Hafiz Muhammad Tahir
dr.hafiztahir@gcu.edu.pk

ABSTRACT

Coccinellids play a pivotal role as natural predators providing dynamic services in agriculture. The coccinellid fauna in the agricultural ecosystem of Pakistan, as well as their composition, drivers of assemblages, and species richness, lack comprehensive understanding and remain poorly documented. We studied biodiversity, species richness, and seasonal dynamics of coccinellids in two major maize-growing districts of the Punjab province, i.e., Kasur and Lahore, in 2018-2019. The coccinellids were collected from February to June during both cropping seasons. Visual counting, handpicking, sweep nets, sticky traps, and pitfall traps were employed for collection of specimens fortnightly. In aggregate, 10637 specimens representing 21 species, 16 genera, and 3 subfamilies were identified based on diagnostic morphological characteristics. The sub family Coccinellinae (Latreille, 1807) was the most dominant, constituting 94.72% of the total catch. Coccinella septempunctata (Linnaeus, 1758) was the most abundant species (21.09%), followed by Coccinella undecimpunctata (Linnaeus, 1758) (17.45%), and Cheilomenus sexmaculata (Fabricius, 1781). The study used various indices to estimate species richness (Menhinick and Margalef) and diversity (Shannon-Weiner and Simpson). The estimated species richness of all Coccinellidae species of both districts was about 95%. A significant change in the population dynamics of Coccinellidae was observed at different phenological stages (BBCH Principal Stage) of maize crops during different study months. The highest species density was recorded during April and May in both districts. A positive correlation of the Coccinellidae was observed with temperature and negative for rainfall and humidity. This work is the first to characterize coccinellids biodiversity from Pakistan’s maize crops. The research will aid in employing the ladybeetles as bio-control agents for effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of maize growing zones in Pakistan and across the globe.  
 
Novelty Statement | In this study, the biodiversity, seasonal abundance, and population dynamics of coccinellids in maize crops are discussed for the better understanding of these predators, which would be helpful in the development of sustainable pest control practices.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

June

Pakistan J. Zool., Vol. 56, Iss. 3, pp. 1001-1500

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