Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm ResearchTitle: An analysis of arthropod interceptions by APHIS-PPQ and Customs and Border Patrol in Puerto Rico) Author
Submitted to: American Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/4/2014
Publication Date: 3/1/2014
Citation: Jenkins, D.A., Mizell, R., Vanbloem, S., Whitmore, S., Wiscovitch, L., Zaleski, K., Goenaga, R.J. 2014. An analysis of arthropod interceptions by APHIS-PPQ and Customs and Border Patrol in Puerto Rico. American Entomologist. 60:44-55. Interpretive Summary: We analyzed arthropod interceptions made by regulatory agencies on traffic coming into and leaving Puerto Rico with the intention of finding patterns that may help predict potential invaders and sources of invasions. The majority (77%) of the arthropods intercepted entering Puerto Rico were intercepted in freight or luggage originating within the Caribbean. We found that the insect order Hemiptera (including scales and mealybugs) were the most frequently intercepted group of arthropods. The order Hemiptera also includes many potential agriculture and environmental pests. A survey of 18 exotic arthropods present in both Puerto Rico and Florida found that the vast majority (89%) are reported from Florida prior to being reported in Puerto Rico. This is likely due to the fact that there are no regulatory barriers between the mainland US and Puerto Rico. Finally, we highlight several exotic arthropods that have recently established in Puerto Rico and discuss what we can learn from these invaders. This work analyzes the patterns of arthropod interceptions by regulatory agencies in the Caribbean, discusses past invasions and their impact, and highlights the weaknesses of the current system of pest-detection. This work will be used to inform future monitoring and detection practices.
Technical Abstract: USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS-PPQ) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) inspect traffic entering the United States for arthropods that pose a threat to national agriculture and/or ecosystems. We analyzed interceptions made by these agencies in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands between October 2006 and December 2009 for patterns with regard to the frequency of interceptions, origins of interceptions, and the taxa intercepted. 6952 arthropods were intercepted in freight or luggage entering Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from foreign countries and 9840 arthropods were intercepted from freight or luggage leaving Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands destined for mainland U.S. The majority (77%) of the arthropods intercepted entering Puerto Rico were intercepted in freight or luggage originating within the Caribbean. The majority of intercepted arthropods were in the order Hemiptera (52% of all interceptions), followed by Diptera (16%), Coleoptera (10%), Lepidoptera (8%), Thysanoptera (5%), Acari (4%), and Hymenoptera (2%). The proportions of arthropod orders intercepted from foreign countries were different from the proportions of orders intercepted from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Intercepted arthropods from foreign countries were more equitably spread among orders, whereas 89% of the arthropods intercepted from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands were in the orders Hemiptera and Diptera. Hemiptera made up the majority of interceptions in traffic entering Puerto Rico and leaving Puerto Rico. However, the Hemiptera made up 28% of the interceptions from foreign countries, but 69% of the interceptions made from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Only 7 of 28 exotic arthropods recently established in Puerto Rico were intercepted during this study and these were intercepted at relatively low frequency (between 3 and 132 interceptions; mean of 35 interceptions). We present data suggesting that most exotic arthropods that occur in both Puerto Rico and Florida established in Florida first, likely due to less stringent or non-existent import inspections for traffic coming into Puerto Rico from the U.S. Finally, we highlight several exotic arthropods that have recently established in Puerto Rico and discuss what we can learn from these invaders.