The fertility life table of Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) preying either on Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) caterpillars or on alternative prey Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) under greenhouse conditions (30 +/- 5 degrees C, 61 +/- 23% RH) were studied. The life table was also determined for the pest T. absoluta under the same conditions. The net reproductive rate (Ro) and the intrinsic rate of natural increase (rm) were higher 14.13 and 46.32 times for predators fed on T. molitor prey, however, the generation time (T) was similar between prey. The pest T. absoluta showed Ro and rm higher 2.15 and 32.10 times than those achieved for predators fed on this pest. However, females fed on a suitable prey T. molitor showed higher Ro and rm than those yielded for the pest. The survival curves were similar for P. nigrispinus females fed on both prey and classified as being type II by Weibull analysis. The results suggest that P. nigrispinus is able to maintain its population preying only on T. absoluta caterpillars; however, the life table parameters determined individually for both showed that the pest produces more generations per year and faster population natural growth than the predator.