Characterization and damage period to fruits caused by the invasive pestDelottococcus aberiae De Lotto (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)


Abstract: Delottococcus aberiae De Lotto (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) is a mealybug ofSouthern African origin. In 2009, this species was detected in Eastern Spain causing severefruit distortions in citrus orchards. As a recent invasive mealybug, there is not enoughinformation about its behavior on this crop. This research aims to study the period in whichcitrus fruits may be damaged by D. aberiae, as well as the characterization of these damages.To achieve these goals a trial was carried out on two different citrus trees varieties:‘Clemenules’ (Citrus reticulata Blanco) and the hybrid ‘Ortanique’ (Citrus reticulata x Citrussinensis). In this experiment, handmade mesh cloth sleeves were used to individually isolateflowers or fruits in different developmental stages. Afterwards, each flower or fruit wasinfested with four D. aberiae females and they were removed after seven days. In order toavoid any contact with D. aberiae, outside the chosen infestation period, the sleeves weremaintained until fruit harvest. Afterwards, before harvesting, any kind of fruit damage wascategorized taking into account its shape and size. Twenty replicates were done per eachcategory tested. Results showed that the highest percentage of damages is recorded when D.aberiae attacks the initial stages of fruit development; however mature fruits obtained frominfested flowers also appeared with distortions. No damage was observed when D. aberiaewas in contact with fruits exceeding 3 cm in diameter. Percentages of damaged fruits,categorized by its shape and size, are also presented. These results will be very useful to setappropriate spraying treatments within the existing integrated pest management programs(IPM) for citrus in Spain.

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