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Title: Acoustic detection of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae) and Oryctes elegans (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in Phoenix dactylifera (Arecales: Arecacae) trees and offshoots in Saudi Arabian orchards

item Mankin, Richard
item AL-AYEDH, H - King Abdulaziz City For Science And Technology
item ALDRYHIM, Y - King Saud University
item ROHDE, B - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2015
Publication Date: 1/7/2016
Citation: Mankin, R.W., Al-Ayedh, H.Y., Aldryhim, Y., Rohde, B. 2016. Acoustic detection of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae) and Oryctes elegans (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in Phoenix dactylifera (Arecales: Arecacae) trees and offshoots in Saudi Arabian orchards. Journal of Economic Entomology. 109(2):622-628.

Interpretive Summary: Early detection of invasive economic pests like the red palm weevil that recently has been established in the Caribbean can help regulatory agencies intercept these insects and help farmers elsewhere manage these serious economic pests more effectively, reducing their populations, and reducing the likelihood of entry of infested trees and offshoots into the US. Researchers at the USDA, Agriculture Research Service, Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, King Saud University, Riyadh Saudi Arabia, and the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, investigated methods to detect red palm weevil infestations in Saudi Arabian date palm orchards. Currently available instrumentation is able to detect these insects in the harsh desert environment of the Middle East, but problems were noted with high levels of dust, and with the capability of farm workers to utilize the equipment without more training than is typically provided. Experience provided by this field study can assist development of more robust instrumentation and provides useful information about the kinds of hardware and software modifications needed to make the systems useful to nontechnical personnel.

Technical Abstract: Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae) larvae are cryptic, internal-tissue feeding pests of palm trees that are difficult to detect until after they have caused severe economic damage; consequently, infestations may remain undetected until they are widespread in an orchard. Infested trees and offshoots frequently are transported inadvertently to previously uninfested areas. Acoustic methods can be used for scouting and early detection of R. ferrugineus, but until now have not undergone thorough testing in harsh, desert environments. For this report, the acoustic detectability of R. ferrugineus was assessed in Saudi Arabian date palm orchards in the presence of commonly occurring wind, bird noise, machinery noise, and nontarget insects. Signal analyses were developed to detect R. ferrugineus and another insect pest, Oryctes elegans Prell (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), frequently found in the orchard, and discriminate them from background noise. In addition, it was possible to distinguish R. ferrugineus from O. elegans in offshoots by differences in the temporal patterns of their sound impulses. As has been observed often with other insect pests, populations of the two species appeared clumped rather than uniform or random. The results are discussed in relation to development of automated methods that could assist orchard managers in quickly identifying infested trees and offshoots so that R. ferrugineus infestations can be targeted and the likelihood of transferring infested offshoots to uninfested areas can be reduced.