Antagonism between Anolis spp. and Wasmannia auropunctata in coffee farms on Puerto Rico: Potential complications of biological control of the coffee berry borer

Authors:Ivette Perfecto, John Vandermeer


The coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari), has at least two generalist predators that are well-known for their biological control potential, the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata and various species of lizards in the genus Anolis. While it is frequently suggested that multiple control elements make biological control more efficacious, particular situations may not reveal such an effect. We investigated the relationship between these two potential biological control elements by surveying coffee bushes on 11 sites within six farms in the central coffee-producing area of Puerto Rico. At both the site level and the level of individual coffee trees, W. auropunctata had a significant negative effect on the presence of Anolis spp., suggesting that in this particular case the benefits of multiple generalist predators may be elusive.

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