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Insects and other arthropods

How predators and parasites are useful to nature

In a garden, spiders are effective predators.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (Claude Pilon)
Spider, Québec, Canada.
  • Spider, Québec, Canada.
  • Predatory fly, Québec, Canada.
  • Laying of a parasitoid, Québec, Canada.
  • Mites on Tipulidae, Québec, Canada.

Many people don’t know that some insects are natural pest control agents. They are divided into three categories: predators, parasites and parasitoids.

Predators attack, kill and eat many different kinds of prey.

Parasites only attack a few kinds of prey and their short-term activity is rarely lethal to their host.

Their attack leads to the victim’s death in a relatively short period of time. At the beginning, the victim does not seem bothered by its occupant and develops normally, although it is being devoured from the inside. The host’s death is followed by the emergence of one or more adult parasitoids that are ready to mate and begin the process again.

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