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Potential of the mite-pathogenic fungus Neozygites floridana (Entomophthorales: Neozygitaceae) for control of the cassava green mite Mononychellus tanajoa (Acari: Tetranychidae)

  • S.L. Elliot (a1), G.J. de Moraes (a2), I. Delalibera (a3), C.A.D. da Silva (a4), M.A. Tamai (a2) and J.D. Mumford (a5)...

Abstract

The cassava green mite, Mononychellus tanajoa (Bondar), is an exotic pest in Africa and is the target of a classical biological control programme. Field data from the Neotropics, where it is indigenous, are presented for the first time, charting the variation in abundance of M. tanajoa over several seasons. This was highly variable, with a characteristic trough mid-year and a peak at the turn of the year. This pattern corresponded positively with rainfall levels, appearing to fit a phenology also characteristic of African studies, where rainfall at the start of the wet season promotes a leaf flush and so growth in M. tanajoa populations. Analyses implied some impact of leaf-inhabiting predatory mites (predominantly Neoseiulus idaeusDenmark & Muma) and a considerable impact of the fungal pathogen Neozygites floridana Fisher on M. tanajoa populations. This pathogen was not observed in the host population for several (generally dry) periods implying survival outside the host, perhaps as resting spores. This is a particularly desirable characteristic of a biological control agent. It is therefore proposed that N. floridanamight be of particular use in drier cassava-growing areas where rainfall at the outset of the wet season is not sufficiently intense to cause heavy M. tanajoa mortality but may be sufficient to stimulate epizootics of the fungal pathogen, protecting the flush of new cassava growth.

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*Section Population Biology, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, Postbus 94084, 1090 GB Amsterdam, The Netherlands Fax: +31 (0)20 525 7754 E-mail: elliot@bio.uva.nl.

References

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Potential of the mite-pathogenic fungus Neozygites floridana (Entomophthorales: Neozygitaceae) for control of the cassava green mite Mononychellus tanajoa (Acari: Tetranychidae)

  • S.L. Elliot (a1), G.J. de Moraes (a2), I. Delalibera (a3), C.A.D. da Silva (a4), M.A. Tamai (a2) and J.D. Mumford (a5)...

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