Seasonal Abundance of Shootflies Infesting Sorghum and their Natural Enemies in Samaru, Nigeria
A total of 1584 young sorghum plants showing typical ‘dead-heart’ symptoms were collected from the field at weekly intervals in 1978 and 1979. From these emerged adult flies belonging to eight families and 17 genera. Members of six of the families are scavengers, while those of the remaining two, Muscidae and Chloropidae, are phytophagous, causing primary or secondary damage to the plants. Three hundred and seventy-five Atherigona soccata adults emerged, representing only 23.7% of the damaged plants. This contrasts with previous records that rate Atherigona soccata as the most important source of ‘dead-heart’ damage in young sorghum plants. Other shootflies perhaps of similar importance, also reared from the plants included Oscinella spp. (986), Scoliophthalmus spp. (344) and Anatrichus erinaceus (160). There were a few other less abundant species.
The numbers of probable parasites and predators of the shootflies that emerged were insignificant, when compared with the extent of damage and the numbers of the shootflies. Damage caused by the shootflies to the early plantings was low and insignificant, reached a peak in mid-season and remained high until the cessation of rain at the end of the season.
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