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2017-12-01T08:00:00.0000000Z
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Whitefly takes a toll on coconut groves across south India
The Hindu (Note there is an error in The Hindu post, with paragraphs missing from that provided by the ICAR site). The text below has been amended to account for the missing paras).
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/whitefly-takes-a-toll-on-coconut-groves-across-south-india/article21040926.ece

T.Nandakumar
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

An alien invasive crop pest is blighting coconut groves across Kerala and the neighbouring States.

Native to Central America, the Rugose Spiralling Whitefly (RSW) (Aleurodicus rugioperculatus) was first reported in India from Palakkad and Pollachi in July 2016. It has now spread to all parts of the State, signalling a serious threat to coconut plantations. Scientists at the Kerala Agricultural University have reported the occurrence of RSW in mango and guava also. A tiny insect measuring up to 2 mm in length, the whitefly sucks out sap from under the leaves, inducing stress on the host plant from the loss of water and nutrients. The honeydew excreted by the fly attracts ants and encourages the growth of a fungus which leads to a sooty mould, affecting the photosynthtic efficiency of the plant.

The National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources (NBAIR) has classified RSW as a destructive, invasive pest threatening coconut in India. The Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragod, has recorded the presence of RSW from all districts of Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.

CPCRI Director P.Chowdappa told The Hindu that biological control by parasitic insects had been found to be effective against RSW.

“We noticed that more than 70% of whitefly colonies were parasitised by its natural predator Encarsia guadeloupae. In fact, RSW infestation has come down in some of the southern districts where the natural buildup of the parasitic wasp had occurred. We are now trying to multiply the predator species.”

This is another pest
Another beetle, Leiochrini nilgirianus, has been found to be effective in scavenging the sooty mould on whitefly-infested plants.

Dr.Chowdappa advocates a sensitisation campaign focussing on biocontrol methods instead of chemical pesticides. “Encouraging the niche survival of E. guadeloupae and habitat conservation of L. nilgirianus are critical for effective bio-suppression of the whitefly.”

The CPCRI is convening a meeting of agricultural commissioners, vice chancellors of agricultural universities, and senior officials in the Agriculture Department from the coconut-growing south Indian States on December 6 to discuss a control and management strategy for the whitefly menace.

Beetles
Aleurodicus_rugioperculatus
Kerala_India
Encarsia_guadeloupae
Rugose_spiralling_whitefly
Leiochrini_nilgirianus

Responses

   0
2017-12-03T14:00:00.0000000Z

The original post omitted several paragraphs - the one above has the correction.

I suspect the article refers to Aleurodicus dispersus, for which Encarsia guadeloupae is a known control agent.India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam; Austro-oriental and Pacific Regions - widely distributed; 
; and there is a suite of other Aleurodicus species native to the Neotropical Region, most of which will feed on coconut. In addition, Aleuroctarthrus destructor is native to Australasia and now occurs in New Guinea, Philippines, Sarawak, Solomon Is, Sulawesi, Thailand; Australia (NT, Qld, NSW, Vic, WA).

Gillian Watson
Ex-California Dept of Food & Agriculture

Posted on user's behalf
Kerala_India
Encarsia_guadeloupae
Rugose_spiralling_whitefly
leurodicus_rugioperculatus
   0
2017-12-03T14:00:00.0000000Z

Dear colleagues, 

Regarding this article, Leiochrini is the name of the tenebrionid tribe this beetle belongs to. Perhaps the authors of the article meant Leiochrinus nilgirianus Kaszab?

Respectfully, 

Lourdes Chamorro

M. Lourdes Chamorro, Ph.D.
Research Entomologist/Curator of Curculionoidea
Systematic Entomology Laboratory - ARS, USDA
c/o Smithsonian Institution - National Museum of Natural History
T: 1.202.633.1019|F: 1.202.786.9422

Posted on user's behalf
   0
2017-12-03T14:00:00.0000000Z

Thanks a lot Gillian for replying to that post. You are right, it does not tell you what RSW stands for or the scientific name. I was going to put out an account of the whitefly from the ICAR,  Central Plantation Crop Research Institute website: http://www.cpcri.gov.in/index.php/component/content/article?layout=edit&id=591, but it got delayed.

In the ICAR account it is a spiralling whitefly, a rugose variation, hence the acronym, RSW. The scientific name is Aleurodicus rugioperculatus Martin. There is a full account on the whitefly and the problem, and there are photos too. There is mention of an Encasia sp. as a natural enemy, and a list of control measures, avoiding pesticides (except neem). 

Please have a look and if you have any info on this species, it would be good to have it.

Best wishes

grahame
Aleurodicus_rugioperculatus
Kerala_India
Encarsia_guadeloupae
Rugose_spiralling_whitefly