Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 86, Issue 3, pp 469–481 | Cite as

Effect of ground cover management on Thysanoptera (thrips) in clementine mandarin orchards

  • Ernestina Aguilar-FenollosaEmail author
  • Josep A. Jacas
Original Paper


Conservation biological control by means of ground cover offers an interesting alternative to chemical control. A complex of Thysanoptera (thrips) species inhabits citrus, some of which are considered pests. This study investigated the effect of ground cover management on thrips species composition, distribution, and seasonal abundance in four commercial clementine mandarin (Citrus clementina Tanaka) orchards. Three soil management systems were compared: resident vegetation, Festuca arundinacea Schreber (Poales: Poaceae), and bare soil. Cover management affected thrips species diversity and abundance. Two of the main species causing fruit damage in Spanish citrus, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) and Thrips tabaci Lindeman, were abundant in the resident ground cover. However, their abundance was strongly depressed in the F. arundinacea cover. The resident vegetation cover could provide a range of suitable host plants supporting populations of potential thrips pest species beyond the citrus blooming period. The F. arundinacea cover, which hosted Poaceae-specific thrips species, could also provide alternative food sources for Phytoseiidae mites. These predatory mites could reduce populations of potential thrips and other citrus pests below economic injury level. Our results confirm the suitability of F. arundinacea as a cover crop for clementine mandarins.


Conservation biological control Habitat management Frankliniella occidentalis Thrips tabaci Phytoseiidae Ground cover Festuca arundinacea 



We are grateful to A. Tena (IVIA, Spain) and A. Goldarazena (Neiker, Spain) for their useful comments on an early draft of this manuscript, to A. Lacasa (IMIDA, Spain) for taxonomical advice, to M.V. Ibáñez-Gual (UJI) for statistical advice, to P. López, P. Pérez, S. Pascual-Ruiz, and O. Dembilio (UJI) for their help during the samplings, to Agrimarba S.A., G. Sancho and Cía, M. Llavador and V. Borràs for allowing us to sample in their orchards. E.A.F was recipient of a predoctoral grant from UJI. This study was partly funded by MICINN (projects AGL2008-05287-C04/AGR and AGL2011-30538-C03-01), and the Valencian Conselleria d’Agricultura, Pesca i Alimentació (ATC06/058-TS/06/UJI/03).

Supplementary material

10340_2013_494_MOESM1_ESM.doc (218 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 217 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departament de Ciències Agràries i del Medi NaturalUnitat Associada d’Entomologia Agrícola, Institut Valencià d’Investigacions Agràries (IVIA) - Universitat Jaume I (UJI)Castelló de la PlanaSpain

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