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Life cycle of Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) on ornamental plants, mostly Arecaceae

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The red palm mite, Raoiella indica Hirst, has been primarily found associated with coconut and musaceous plants in the New World. However, it has also been recorded on several other palms, heliconiaceous and zingiberaceous species. This study was conducted to evaluate the suitability of different botanical families on which R. indica has been collected in the field and of arecaceous plants of the natural vegetation of the neotropics. In total, ten species of Arecaceae as well as Heliconia psittacorum [Heliconiaceae] and Alpinia purpurata [Zingiberacae] were evaluated, using coconut as a control. The study was carried out under controlled conditions (29 ± 0.5 °C, 60 ± 10 % RH and photoperiod 12 h of light). Raoiella indica was able to complete immature development only on coconut, Adonidia merrillii, Ptychosperma macarthurii, H. psittacorum and A. purpurata. Duration of the immature phase (egg-adult) ranged between 21.5 days on coconut to 34.1 days on A. purpurata. Longevity was at least 50 % greater and oviposition at least 38 % higher on coconut than on other plants. Intrinsic rate of increase (rm) was higher on coconut (0.166) and A. merrillii (0.042), but negative on the other two plant species. Raoiella indica could not reach adulthood on any of the other ten arecaceous species considered in the study. The results suggested R. indica to be a threat to A. merrillii in addition to coconut, but not to other evaluated plants. However, complementary studies should be conducted to investigate whether the experimental procedures adopted in this study could not have prevented the mite from a better performance than it could have been under field conditions, especially in relation to Mauritia flexuosa, one of the dominant arecaceous plants in South America.

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Vásquez, C., Colmenárez, Y. & de Moraes, G.J. Life cycle of Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) on ornamental plants, mostly Arecaceae. Exp Appl Acarol 65, 227–235 (2015).

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