Comparative demography of the spider mite, Oligonychus afrasiaticus, on four date palm varieties in southwestern Tunisia

Sameh Ben Chaaban1a*, Brahim Chermiti1b, and Serge Kreiter2c

1Institut Supérieur des Sciences Agronomiques de Chott-Mariam, Département de Protection des Plantes, Laboratoire de Zoologie Agricole, 4042 Sousse, Tunisia
2Montpellier SupAgro, UMR CBGP, bâtiment 16, 2 Place Pierre Viala, 34060 Montpellier cedex 01, France

Abstract

The date palm mite, Oligonychus afrasiaticus (McGregor) (Acari: Tetranychidae), is a serious pest of palm date fruits. Life cycle, fecundity, and longevity of this mite were studied on fruits of four date palms, Phoenix dactylifera L. (Arecales: Arecaceae)(varieties: Deglet Noor, Alig, Kentichi, and Besser), under laboratory conditions at 27 ± 1 °C, 60 ± 10% RH. Total development time of immature female was shorter on Deglet Noor fruits than on the other cultivars. O. afrasiaticus on Deglet Noor had the highest total fecundity per female, while low fecundity values occurred on Besser. The comparison of intrinsic rates of natural increase (rm), net reproductive rates (Ro), and the survival rates of immature stage of O. afrasiaticus on the host plants suggests that O. afrasiaticus performs better on Deglet Noor fruits. The mite feeding on Alig showed the lowest intrinsic rate of natural population increase (rm = 0.103 day−1). The estimation of difference in susceptibility of cultivars to O. afrasiaticus is crucial for developing efficient pest control programs. Indeed, less susceptible cultivars can either be left unsprayed or sprayed at low threshold.

Keywords: Acari, Deglet Noor, life table parameters, Tetranychidae

Correspondence: a samah_bchaaban@yahoo.fr, b chermiti.ibrahim@iresa.agrinet.tn, c kreiter@supagro.inra.fr, *Corresponding author

Editor: TX Liu was Editor of this paper.

Received: 25 November 2010 | Accepted: 10 August 2011 | Published: 13 October 2011

ISSN: 1536-2442 | Volume 11, Number 136

Chaaban SB, Chermiti B, Kreiter S. 2011. Comparative demography of the spider mite, Oligonychus afrasiaticus, on four date palm varieties in southwestern Tunisia. Journal of Insect Science 11:136 available online: insectscience.org/11.136


Figure 1