Fabre, J.P., Menassieu, P., Foing, J.J., & Chalon, A. 2000 Biology and ecology of Elatophilus nigricornis Zetterstedt (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) predator of Matsucoccus feytaudi Ducasse (Homoptera: Matsucoccidae) in the South-East of France.. Annals of Forest Science 57(8): 777-792.
Notes: The pine scale Matsucoccus feytaudi was accidentally introduced into the maritime pine stands of the Maure and Esterel Forests. It is the primary cause of the dieback of 120,000 ha stands and its specialist predator Elatophilus migricornis has been studied. It is possible to maintain and raise it in laboratory conditions but its output is not prolific enough to envisage propagation which would allow it to be released in natural conditions. When raised in laboratory conditions the time required for its development and fecundity have been determined. In natural conditions, nymphs develop in trunk bark cracks, adults mate, but females insert eggs in needles. The population of the eggs is distributed according to two gradients: a decreasing gradient from the bottom to the top of the trees and a decreasing gradient from the trunk to the extremities of the branches. The distribution of its nymph populations on the trunk and branches is different before and after the invasion of M. feytaudi. In reality, the distribution of the predator nymph populations always coincides with that of its host even when that of the latter changes. E. nigricornis produces at least three generations a year for M. feytaudi) and overwinters at the fertilized female stage. Two sampling methods have allowed us to estimate the population levels which have developed during and after the pine scale invasion. Even when there was widespread destruction of the trees attacked due to the action of the xylophagous, there is a link between the size of the E. nigricornis populations on the trees and the capacity of the tree to survive. In stands where more than half the trees survived it was found that in 6 years the level of weekly captures was multiplied by 26. Finally, on regeneration trees which replaced the old stands that had been destroyed or felled, the population levels are three times greater.