Effect of coconut palm proximities and Musa spp. germplasm resistance to colonization by Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae)
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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.
KeywordsMusa Banana Germplasm Red palm mite Acari Tenuipalpidae
Authors would like to acknowledge the Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources of Puerto Rico for providing coconut palms used on the experiment. This project was financially supported in part by Z-200. Authors also would like to thank Ms. Shirley Cruz, Ms. Lesly Colon and Mr. Jose Marengo Santiago for their assistance during the experimental set up and data collection.
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