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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mayaguez, Puerto Rico » Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #271056

Title: Effect of coconut palm proximities and Musa spp. germplasm resistance to colonization by Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae)

item VERLE RODRIGUEZ, JOSE - University Of Puerto Rico
item Irish, Brian

Submitted to: Experimental and Applied Acarology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/4/2011
Publication Date: 9/24/2011
Citation: Verle Rodriguez, J.C., Irish, B.M. 2011. Effect of coconut palm proximities and Musa spp. germplasm resistance to colonization by Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae). Experimental and Applied Acarology. DOI:10.1007/S10493-011-9484-Y.

Interpretive Summary: The introduced red palm mite is an important agricultural pest that attacks predominantly coconuts, although bananas and plantains can also be severely affected. Both of these crops commonly occur in Puerto Rico with the banana and plantain industry being one of the most important agricultural commodities on the island. Greenhouse evaluations aimed at understanding red palm mite population dynamics in relation to these two important agricultural crop hosts were carried out. Differences in distances, spatial distribution and ratios of coconut palms to bananas and plantains influenced the rate at which red palm mite populations increased on the corresponding host. Also, clear differences in red palm mite population buildup and total population numbers were evident among a group of banana and plantain hybrids evaluated. These findings help begin to describe the red palm mite’s interactions with its host and could lead to recommendations for best pest management practices.

Technical Abstract: Although coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) is the predominant host for Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari: Tenuipalpidae), false spider mite infestations do occur on bananas and plantains (Musa spp. Colla). Since its introduction, the banana and plantain industries have been negatively impacted to different degrees by R. indica infestation throughout the Caribbean. Genetic resistance in the host and the proximity of natural sources of mite infestation has been suggested as two of the main factors affecting R. indica densities in Musa spp. plantations. Greenhouse experiments were established to try to determine what effect coconut palm proximities and planting densities had on R. indica populations infesting Musa spp. plants. Trials were carried out using potted Musa spp. and coconut palms plants at two different ratios. In addition, fourteen Musa spp. hybrid accessions were evaluated for their susceptibility/resistance to colonization by R. indica populations. Differences were observed for mite population buildup for both the density and germplasm accession evaluations. These results have potential implications on how this important pest can be managed on essential agricultural commodities such as bananas and plantains.