, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 343-355
Date: 08 Jan 2013

Potential geographical distribution of the red palm mite in South America

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Among pests that have recently been introduced into the Americas, the red palm mite, Raoiella indica Hirst (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae), is the most invasive. This mite has spread rapidly to several Caribbean countries, United States of America, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. The potential dispersion of R. indica to other regions of South America could seriously impact the cultivation of coconuts, bananas, exotic and native palms and tropical flowers such as the Heliconiaceae. To facilitate the development of efficacious R. indica management techniques such as the adoption of phytosanitary measures to prevent or delay the dispersion of this pest, the objective of this paper was to estimate the potential geographical distribution of R. indica in South America using a maximum entropy model. The R. indica occurrence data used in this model were obtained from extant literature, online databases and field sampling data. The model predicted potential suitable areas for R. indica in northern Colombia, central and northern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, east French Guiana and many parts of Brazil, including Roraima, the eastern Amazonas, northern Pará, Amapá and the coastal zones, from Pará to north of Rio de Janeiro. These results indicate the potential for significant R. indica related economic and social impacts in all of these countries, particularly in Brazil, because the suitable habitat regions overlap with agricultural areas for R. indica host plants such as coconuts and bananas.