Plant Pests of the Middle East


Publications by year


Publications by Authors

entomology authors

Recent Publications

Contact Us

The Department of Entomology
The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Herzl 229, Rehovot 7610001, ISRAEL

Tel: 08-9489223 
Fax: 08-9366768


Dally, M. ; Lalzar, M. ; Belausov, E. ; Gottlieb, Y. ; Coll, M. ; Zchori-Fein, E. Cellular Localization of Two Rickettsia Symbionts in the Digestive System and within the Ovaries of the Mirid Bug, Macrolophous pygmaeus. INSECTS 2020, 11.Abstract
Like most insects, those that feed on both prey and plant materials harbor symbiotic bacteria in their body. Yet the involvement of bacteria in the feeding habits of these omnivorous consumers has yet to be investigated. In the present study, we took the first step toward testing the hypothesis that bacterial symbionts are involved in the feeding habits of the omnivorous bugMacrolophus pygmaeus. We (I) characterized the microbiome (the assembly of bacteria and fungi) ofM. pygmaeus, and (II) determined the identity and location of the most dominant bacteria species within the host body. We found thatM. pygmaeusmicrobiome is dominated by twoRickettsiaspecies,R. belliandR. limoniae. These bacteria are found in high numbers in the digestive system of the bug, each exhibiting a unique distribution pattern, and for the most part, do not share the same cells in the gut. These results strongly suggest that the host bug may gain some nutritional benefits by hosting the two dominant symbiotic bacteria in its gut. Bacterial symbionts in arthropods are common, vary in their effects, and can dramatically influence the outcome of biological control efforts.Macrolophus pygmaeus(Heteroptera: Miridae), a key component of biological control programs, is mainly predaceous but may also display phytophagy.M. pygmaeushosts symbioticWolbachia, which induce cytoplasmic incompatibility, and twoRickettsiaspecies,R. belliiandR. limoniae, which are found in all individuals tested. To test possible involvement of the twoRickettsiaspecies in the feeding habits ofM. pygmaeus, we first showed that the microbiome of the insect is dominated by these three symbionts, and later described the distribution pattern of the twoRickettsiaspecies in its digestive system. Although bothRickettsiaspecies were located in certain gut bacteriocyes, in caeca and in Malpighian tubules of both sexes, each species has a unique cellular occupancy pattern and specific distribution along digestive system compartments. Infrequently, both species were found in a cell. In females, bothRickettsiaspecies were detected in the germarium, the apical end of the ovarioles within the ovaries, but not in oocytes. Although the cause for theseRickettsiadistribution patterns is yet unknown, it is likely linked to host nutrition while feeding on prey or plants.
Coll, M. ; Wajnberg, E. Environmental Pest Management. In Environmental Pest Management; Environmental Pest Management; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2017; pp. 405-417. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Summary For thousands of years, farmers have protected their crops by combating one pest at a time, using a single control method with very little consideration of the surrounding environment. In its early form, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) was intended to provide a more holistic approach to pest management than the ‘supervised control’ that was commonplace at the time. However, when public support later declined, agro-chemical companies were quick to step in and take on a major role in directing pest management back towards supervised control. To reduce yield losses to pests and produce more food in sustainable and environmentally compatible ways, major long-term governmental commitments are needed. We argue that governmental inputs acting to promote sustainable agricultural practices and nature conservation should have four main thrusts that are currently missing in most legislation: (1) establishing goal-oriented agro-environmental schemes, (2) externalizing the true costs of pesticide use, (3) strengthening the public extension service, and (4) soliciting goal-specific research.
Coll, M. ; Wajnberg, E. Environmental Pest Management. In Environmental Pest Management; Environmental Pest Management; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2017; pp. 1-17. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Summary Increasing awareness and concerns regarding the adverse effects of pest management activities on human health and the environment have led researchers and, to a lesser extent non-governmental activists and policymakers, to seek ways to restrain harmful pest control practices. Conservation biologists, in their efforts to protect biodiversity, have begun to document the importance of the environment in pest management. At the same time, the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, formulated more than 55 years ago, has for the most part failed to fulfil its mission developing effective, safe and sustainable plant protection systems. To this end, a new pest management paradigm is needed: a top-down, system-centric approach should replace the historical bottom-up, pest-centric viewpoint. This change is particularly important if we are to harness pest control activities to a global effort to increase food security and environmental protection.
Coll, M. ; Wajnberg, E. Environmental Pest Management: Challenges for Agronomists, Ecologists, Economists and Policymakers; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A wide-ranging, interdisciplinary exploration of key topics that interrelate pest management, public health and the environment

This book takes a unique, multidimensional approach to addressing the complex issues surrounding pest management activities and their impacts on the environment and human health, and environmental effects on plant protection practices.

It features contributions by a distinguished group of authors from ten countries, representing an array of disciplines. They include plant protection scientists and officers, economists, agronomists, ecologists, environmental and public health scientists and government policymakers. Over the course of eighteen chapters, those experts share their insights into and analyses of an array of issues of vital concern to everyone with a professional interest in this important subject.

The adverse effects of pest control have become a subject of great concern worldwide, and researchers and enlightened policymakers have at last begun to appreciate the impact of environmental factors on our ability to manage pest populations. Moreover, while issues such as pesticide toxicity have dominated the global conversation about pest management, economic and societal considerations have been largely neglected. Environmental Pest Management: Challenges for Agronomists, Ecologists, Economists and Policymakers is the first work to provide in-depth coverage of all of these pressing issues between the covers of one book.

• Offers a unique multi-dimensional perspective on the complex issues surrounding pest management activities and their effect on the environment and human health

• Addresses growing concerns about specific pest management strategies, including the use of transgenic crops and biological controls

• Analyses the influence of global processes, such as climate change, biological invasions and shifts in consumer demand, and ecosystem services and disservices on pest suppression efforts

• Explores public health concerns regarding biodiversity, pesticide use and food safety

• Identifies key economic drivers of pest suppression research, strategies and technologies

• Proposes new regulatory approaches to create sustainable and viable crop protection systems in the framework of agroenvironmental schemes

Offering a timely and comprehensively-unique treatment of pest management and its environmental impacts in a single, interdisciplinary volume, this book is a valuable resource for scientists in an array of disciplines, as well as government officials and policymakers. Also, teachers of undergraduate and graduate level courses in a variety of fields are sure to find it a highly useful teaching resource.

Schuldiner-harpaz, T. ; Coll, M. Estimating the effect of plant-provided food supplements on pest consumption by omnivorous predators: lessons from two coccinellid beetles. Pest Manag Sci 2017, 73, 976-983.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Plant-provided food supplements can influence biological pest control by omnivorous predators in two counteracting ways: they can (i) enhance predator populations, but (ii) reduce pest consumption by individual predators. Yet the majority of studies address only one of these aspects. Here, we first tested the influence of canola (Brassica napus L.) pollen supplements on the life history of two ladybeetle species: Hoppodamia variegata (Goeze) and Coccinella septempunctata (L.). We then developed a theoretical model to simulate total pest consumption in the presence and absence of pollen supplements. RESULTS: Supplementing a prey diet with canola pollen increased H. variegata larval survival from 50 to 82%, and C. septempunctata female oviposition by 1.6-fold. Model simulations revealed a greater benefit of pollen supplements when relying on C. septempunctata for pest suppression than on H. variegata. CONCLUSION: For these two predators, the tested pollen serves as an essential supplement to a diet of prey. However, the benefit of a mixed prey-pollen diet was not always sufficient to overcome individual decrease in pest consumption. Taken together, our study highlights the importance of addressing both positive and negative roles of plant-provided food supplements in considering the outcome for biological control efforts that rely on omnivorous predators. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.
Schuldiner-harpaz, T. ; Coll, M. Effect of Diet History on Prey and Pollen Food Choice by Two Lady Beetle Species. Journal of Insect Behavior 2017, 30, 432-438. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Mixed diets of prey and plant-provided foods, such as pollen, have been shown to benefit a wide range of arthropods. However, diet shifting between these two very different food sources remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that previous diet should influence subsequent time allocation between prey and plant food types; to reach a balanced diet, consumers are expected to allocate more time to resources previously lacking in their diet. We tested this hypothesis by observing the foraging choices of larvae of two omnivorous coccinellid species: Coccinella septempunctata L. and Hippodamia variegata (Goeze) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), following a diet history of prey, pollen or a mixed diet of both food types. Results showed an asymmetrical tendency of C. septempunctata larvae to complement their previous diet with unfamiliar food: larvae allocated more time to pollen feeding, but not to prey, when each of the foods was previously absent from their diet. Study results have important implications for the use of plant-provided food supplements to enhance biological control by these omnivorous consumers.
Maoz, Y. ; Gal, S. ; Argov, Y. ; Domeratzky, S. ; Coll, M. ; Palevsky, E. Intraguild interactions among specialised pollen feeders and generalist phytoseiids and their effect on citrus rust mite suppression. Pest Management Science 2016, 72, 940-949. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Abstract BACKGROUND Antagonistic interactions among predators with shared prey are thought to hamper their ability to suppress herbivores. Our aim was to quantify intraguild interactions in omnivorous predatory mite assemblages in the presence of pollen, and assess their effect on pest populations. We focused on the following naturally occurring phytoseiid species in Israeli citrus orchards and their ability to suppress a key pest, the citrus rust mite (CRM) Phyllocoptruta oleivora (Eriophyidae): the generalists Amblyseius swirskii and Typhlodromus athiasae and the specialised pollen feeders Iphiseius degenerans, Euseius scutalis, E. stipulatus and E. victoriensis. Evaluations were performed on two spatial scales, tree seedlings and leaf discs. RESULTS On seedlings, experiments were conducted to quantify the interactions between predators in the presence of pollen and its effects on CRM suppression. On leaf discs, intraguild interactions were studied between pairs of phytoseiid species in the presence of pollen without CRM. On seedlings, the specialised pollen predators were more effective at suppressing CRM populations than the generalist predators. CONCLUSION In most cases, the more aggressive intraguild predator was the specialised pollen feeder. Similarly, leaf-disc experiments suggest that in these interactions the specialised pollen feeders tend to be the intraguild predators more often than the intraguild prey. © 2015 Society of Chemical Industry
Schuldiner-harpaz, T. ; Coll, M. ; Weintraub, P. G. Prey and Pollen Food Choice Depends on Previous Diet in an Omnivorous Predatory Mite. Environmental Entomology 2016, 45, 995-998. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The time allocated by omnivorous predators to consuming prey versus plant-provided foods (e.g., pollen) directly influences their efficacy as biocontrol agents of agricultural pests. Nonetheless, diet shifting between these two very different food sources remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that previous diet composition influences subsequent choice of prey and plant food types. We tested this hypothesis by observing the foraging choices of Amblyseius swirskii (Athias-Henriot) mites (Mesostigmata: Phytoseiidae), which were first maintained on either prey (broad mites) or corn pollen, and then offered familiar and unfamiliar foods. A. swirskii exhibited strong fidelity to familiar food, whether prey or pollen, suggesting there are physiological or behavioral costs involved in shifting between such different foods. Results illustrate the importance of previous diet for subsequent pest consumption by omnivorous natural enemies.