Survival analysis of brown plant hoppers (Nilaparvata lugens) in rice using video recordings of predation events

Hemerik, Lia; Bianchi, Felix; Wiel, Inge van de; Fu, Daomeng; Zou, Yi; Xiao, Haijun; Werf, Wopke van der


The brown plant hopper, Nilaparvata lugens Stål, is a major rice pest in South-East Asia. While brown plant hopper (BPH) populations can be regulated by natural enemies, there is limited quantitative information available about the contribution of different predator species to BPH mortality. Our study has three aims: (i) assess the relative contribution of different predator species to BPH mortality in rice fields, (ii) assess diurnal patterns in BPH predation, and (iii) assess the seasonal variation in BPH predation. We quantified predation of live mobile BPH in three rice fields using video recording and assessed densities frogs, a major predator group, by direct counts. In 864 h of video recording, 102 mortality events were observed. Frogs (Ranidae), wolf spiders (Lycosidae) and jumping spiders (Salticidae) were the main predators, accounting for 76%, 13% and 9% of the BPH predation events, respectively. There were large differences in frog density across fields, and there was more predation during the evening (63% predation events) than during the day (37%). Survival analysis indicated that predation risk quickly decreased with time after the onset of recording sessions and that most predation happened within the first 10 min. The results confirm the often overlooked contribution of frogs to BPH predation, but also highlight the substantial variation in predator pressure and frog abundance across farmers’ fields. While camera observations provide compelling information on the identity and relative importance of natural enemies in predation of pests, further development of methods is needed to minimize possible biases resulting from disturbance when making camera observations to quantify predation risk.