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Integrated control of coconut hispid beetle Brontispa longissima (Gestro) in the Maldives

Aminath Shafia*

* Director, Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources, Maldives; e-mail: aminath.shafia@fishagri.gov.mv

Introduction

The Republic of Maldives consists of 1 192 coral islands, which form a chain 820 km in length and 130 km at its widest point, set in an area of 90 000 sq km of the Indian Ocean, extending from equator to latitude 8-degree north. The islands are grouped in to units called as atolls for the purposes of administration.

Coconut plays a major role in the economy of Maldives directly by providing food and income from coconut products, and indirectly as an important component of the landscape, where tourism plays a key role in the economy. The pest Brontispa was first noticed in December 1999 on Sun Island resort (local name: Nalaguraidhoo; 1 600 by 380 meters) in South Ari Atoll, but uncertainty about the potential impact of the pest delayed its reporting by resort management to Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources (MFAMR) until early 2000.

Discussions between MFAMR staff and management of Sun Island resort found that ornamental palms were imported in 1999 from nurseries in Malaysia and Indonesia. In the absence of adequate legislation stipulating quarantine intervention and its enforcement, the introduction of ornamentals into the Maldives is allowed provided a phytosanitary certificate is obtained from state authorities in the exporting country. However, the importation of coconuts and coconut planting materials from any country is prohibited by law. It is most probably that the Brontispa infestation originated from adult or immature stages of the pest that were concealed in these palms, as Brontispa is believed to be endemic to the Indonesian and Papua New Guinean region.

The pest has since known to spread to neighbouring inhabited island of Fenfushi and to Holiday Island resort (Dhiffushi, as well Maamigili [inhabited] and Ariyadhoo [uninhabited]) island within a couple of years.

Sun Island resort management in consultation with regional experts and MFAMR initiated chemical control measures for the pest starting from June 2000. These measures included cutting of infested leaf spears and application of insecticide (Carbamate 'Sevin') as a topical application on the cut leave stumps and central crown and injection of systemic insecticide (Monocrotophos) into the trunk of infested trees. In addition, recommendations were made to remove and burn seedlings. This was an emergency measure as infestation was very serious in the island.

Information provided by Sun Island resort management indicated direct economic losses between June 2000 and February 2003 at US$237 350.

Control of the beetle heavily depended on toxic insecticides. However, chemical insecticides pose serious health risks and damage to the environment. Nevertheless, the control programme, could not prevent the spread of the pest to five neighbouring islands (Holiday Island resort: Dhiffushi), the inhabited Maamigili and Fenfushi Islands, and the uninhabited islands of Tholufushi and Ariyadhoo. There is a serious risk of further spread of the pest to other islands in Ari Atoll, and to other atolls in the country. Many farmers from these islands and from Ari Atoll depend on coconut for food and income from coconut product sales to the resorts and tourists. Coconuts palms are also an important component of the landscape, contributing to the aesthetic beauty of many of the islands where tourism plays a key role in the economy.

Introduction of the pest into new areas will have a serious impact on production levels of coconuts for local consumption or for sale to nearby tourist resorts and markets in major population centres such as the capital Male'. The imposition of internal quarantine restrictions on the export of leaves for roof thatch or other tourist products made from leaves from Brontispa infested islands further affects the income of the local population.

However, the impact of the pest is as much feared for its direct impact on the tourist industry: the damaged leaves affect the aesthetic appearance of the palm trees which forms a major attraction for tourists. With the national economy heavily dependent on the tourism industry - the majority of the Maldivians directly or indirectly depend on this sector - the risk of spread and potential impact of the pest is a major concern for the government. Brontispa is therefore a serious threat to the continued income generation and as such, the country's food security.

Of major international concern, however, was the significant risk of the pest spreading to nearby countries such as India and Sri Lanka. This risk will increase with the progressive invasion of the pest of other islands and atolls within the Maldives. Both India and Sri Lanka have a very large coconut industry and damage to the industry would be catastrophic. Coconut is also a very important crop that provides food security to thousands of people, and to the processing industry that is vital to both the economies of these countries. The effects of a Brontispa introduction to Sri Lanka and India will be much more severe and far-reaching than those seen in the Maldives. This provides further support to the need for immediate and concerted action for control in the Maldives.

Due to the seriousness of the pest and the failures in attempted control measures, the MFAMR requested Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for special assistance and the project: TCP/MDV/2904(A) Integrated Pest Management of Coconut Hispid Beetle; Brontispa longissima was launched in September 2003, to address the pest problem in the Maldives. The overall objective of the project is:

"Livelihoods of the people of the Maldives secured by reviving the productivity and attractiveness of coconut palms through management of the destructive introduced coconut hispid beetle with ecologically-friendly Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, focusing on biological control through the introduction of natural enemies".

The immediate/specific objectives focused on:

1.Authoritative identification to species level of the coconut leaf beetle that is causing problems in the Maldives, and of any principal natural enemies (parasitoids, predators, pathogens).

2.Collection of natural enemies (parasitoids, predators and pathogens) of coconut leaf beetle from semi-quarantine rearing facilities in Viet Nam and/or Nauru, and their importation into the Maldives, with due consideration of established international guidelines and procedures pertaining to quarantine requirements.

3.Introduction and successful rearing of exotic parasitoids of Brontispa in of captivity in the Maldives.

4.Release of exotic natural enemies in the infested areas.

5.Assessment of effectiveness of exotic natural enemies in controlling Brontispa.

6.A control strategy developed and recommended for the control of Brontispa in coconut in the Maldives, including appropriate improved agronomic practices that ensure good plant health.

7.A training programme developed and implemented for researchers, extension officers and farmers in the control of Brontispa in coconut.

8.Development and implementation of an awareness-raising programmes to educate the people about coconut leaf beetle IPM, focusing on the biology and impact of natural enemies of the leaf beetle as well as the value of natural enemies for suppressing pests in other crops.

Main project activities

1. Identification of the pest

In 2002, Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources tentatively confirmed the identity of the pest. Samples of the beetle collected in February 2003 were identified by Dr Peter Maddison, of Field Studies, Auckland, New Zealand, as the "Coconut Hispid Beetle" Brontispa longissima Gestro.

2. Survey of coconut hispid beetle distribution

Two FAO consultants Mr Allan Chambers (Quarantine Specialist) and Mr Wilco Liebgrets (Project Team Leader) and a technical team from MFAMR (Ms Aminath Shafia - Project National Coordinator, Mr Mohamed Firsah - Project Local Counterpart) surveyed all islands of North and South Ari Atoll for the presence of the pest and its natural enemies.

The survey team visited all islands including resorts and villages. Coastal coconut palms on small uninhabited islands were surveyed from the boat with a high powered binocular for signs of characteristic pest damage.

The survey confirmed that the beetle had spread from the known distribution range (Fenfushi, Tholhufushi, Nalaguraidhoo, Dhiffushi, Maamigili and Ariyadhoo) to islands further eastwards Dhidhdhoo and Dhidhoofinolu and Dhigurah. The extent of infestation on Dhidhdhoo village indicated that the beetle had been present there at least for one year. Few infested palms were found on Dhidhoofinolhu and Dhigurah and it appears that the beetle reached the island at a later stage.

The survey also confirmed that the beetle had not spread to the northern parts of the atoll, however infestation of rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros was observed from many islands. The project team did not find any effective biocontrol agents of the pest from any surveyed island. Hence, it was concluded that a biological control agent need to be identified from other countries where successful biological control of coconut hispid beetle has been achieved. Furthermore, based on the survey and the available literature, the team concluded that only one species of Brontispa cause damage to the coconuts and other palms species in the Maldives.

The dispersal of the beetle over the islands in southern Ari atoll was not unexpected: the islands are located within very short distances, and it must be assumed that the pest can cross between these islands by flight. However, the distances between the infested island of Fenfushi in the south west and Huruelhi and Hukurudhoo in the south east, and between Dhigurah and Dhangethi in the east are quite considerable and are likely to provide a significant barrier to the further dispersal by flight of the beetle northwards in Ari atoll. Quarantine measures therefore are of the highest importance to prevent spread of the pest with coconut seedlings, palm trees and leaf materials that may be transported by the people.

The opportunity was used to distribute leaflets on the pest to island authorities and resort management staff to create awareness and stress the need for quarantine to reduce the risk of its further dispersal.

3. Chemical treatment

Until the identification of a biological control agent, a more effective and a less toxic chemical DIAZINON 10 percent GRANULES trade name DIAPHOS was introduced. The product is known to be a more effective product for coconut hispid beetle. The application method is also more suitable and less laborious compared to the previously used chemical 'Sevin'. (Sevin has to be applied to the palm by pouring a considerable amount of chemical into the cut palm frond).

Diaphos 10 gram bags, were inserted at the base of the sheath of un-opened leaf. Diaphos packet of 30 G per tree was enough for controlling the beetles efficiently for two to three months. To avoid re-infection, Diaphos was applied to all palms at the same time.

4. Identification and importation of a biological control agent

The parasitoid wasp Asecodes hispinarum was identified by the international project consultant from W. Samoa. This wasp was the major biological control agent that controlled the pest in Western Samoa during the 1980s. A. hispinarum was also found to be successful in the control of CBH in Viet Nam.

The parasitoid, Asecodes hispinarum, was imported to the Maldives as a pure culture that was reared for ten generations in the quarantine facility of Nong Lam University, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Viet Nam. The parasitoid was transferred to semi quarantine laboratory at Sun Island resort (Nalaguraidhoo) for quarantine, mass rearing and field release to all infected islands of the Maldives.

A total of 150 mummies were introduced from Viet Nam, which was parasitized over a period of five days and isolated into individual glass vials prepared for shipment. A cardboard box containing the parasites in a dormant phase of development was hand-carried by the TCDC specialist from Viet Nam over Singapore to Maldives on 5 December. Upon arrival the package was kept in custody by MFAMR, until it was delivered to the semi-quarantine facility at Sun Island resort a day later.

International protocols for importing biological control agents were strictly followed. A dossier was prepared and all necessary authorization was obtained from relevant ministries.

5. Mass rearing of biological control agent at laboratory condition

At the laboratory provided by the management of Sun Island resort, mass rearing of the parasitoid began upon arrival of the parasitoids. To mass rear the parasitoids, the coconut hispid beetle was also required to be reared. Both these activities were carried out at Sun Island by MOFAMR staff assisted by resort staff.

The rearing procedure developed by Long Nam University, Viet Nam was followed.

Following the exposure of the first generation of parasitoids (i.e. those that emerged from the mummies imported from Viet Nam) to Brontispa host larvae for parasitization, a representative sample (some 100 dead parasitoids preserved in a vial with 80 percent ethanol) were sent to the Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom, for verification and confirmation of the identity of A. hispinarum. This follows international protocols to ensure that the only the desired species is imported and used for mass rearing in the recipient country.

6. Release of parasitoids

The Executive Director MOFAMR, Mr Jaadullah Jameel, initiated the first official release of parasitoids on 9 February, during the official ceremony held on both Sun Island resort and Fenfushi Island. The ceremonies were attended by senior officials from FAO, Maldives Customs, MOFAMR and other relevant ministries. The team was complemented by national news papers, Voice of Maldives and Television Maldives. Most members of the Project Coordinating Committee attended the ceremony. The parasitoid was released as adults by letting them fly into the environment and also the parasitized mummies of CHB were hung on trees for natural emergence and release. Parasitoid release had been continuously undertaken and the approximate number of parasitoids released is provided in Table 1.

Table 1. Details of the numbers and locations where parasitoids have been released to-date

Brontispa infested Island

Palm infestation (%) February 2004

No of adult parasitoids released

1.Nalaguraidhoo (Sun Island resort)

23

140 420

2.Dhif fushi (Holiday Is. resort)

1

10 200

3.Dhidhdhoofinolhu (White Sands resort)

1

7 500

4.Maamigili

45

56 020

5.Fenfushi

40

44 640

6.Dhidhdhoo

1

5 000

7.Dhigurah

1

6 600

8.Ariyadhoo

10

28 900

Total


299 280

7. Awareness and quarantine programme

In view of the high risk of spread of the beetle to other islands within the atoll and to other atolls, a quarantine awareness campaign was launched to educate the public on the pest and the most likely methods of dispersal to new areas.

The Brontispa awareness programme started in March 2003 and has been very successful in increasing awareness on Brontispa among the local population.

Radio broadcasts on the threat of the coconut hispid beetle are frequent, and have contributed significantly to increase public awareness on the pest.

A special radio programme and a television programme were aired to inform people about the pest status in the country. Full colour posters containing important information regarding the pest was printed in both A2 and A3 formats; made in English and Dhivehi languages. The posters have been distributed to all inhabited islands, resorts, relevant ministries, schools, and the general public, to achieve maximum awareness. A leaflet of the pest is also prepared in local (Dhivehi) language and being distributed to the general public.

A workshop involving a broad cross-section of the Maldivian community was conducted in Male' as an initial awareness raising activity. After raising their awareness of the pest, attendees developed action plans aimed at dealing with the current situation and in the development of longer term strategies for preventing similar problem in the future.

The quarantine regulation imposed under this campaign is to prohibit inter island movement of fresh coconut leaves/fronds, mature coconut palms and coconut seedlings from a Brontispa infected island.

The programme also involves a Brontispa reporting mechanism. When the island community suspects the beetle in the island, they are requested to report MOFAMR. Upon reporting a scrutinizing team consisting of professionals who could identify symptoms, adults and young stages of hispid beetles visit the island and verify the situation. So far none of the reported islands is infected with the beetle.

8. Training

The training exercise is on-going and will be continued until end of project in August 2005. The availability of the posters and leaflets will enable the implementation of Train-the-Trainers for Community Awareness. MOFAMR staff was trained by the National Project Coordinator and the training programmes are underway. To-date training has been conducted in five atolls.

9. Assessment of effectiveness of A. hispinarum in controlling B. longissima

Assessment of the effectiveness of A. hispinarum in controlling the beetle is on-going. The data collected from the island after four months of parasitoid release indicated very low (less than 3 percent) parasitization in Sun Island resort while in other islands it was nil. However, this information provided confirmation that Asecodes hispinarum can survive and establish in the field conditions in the Maldives.

Further studies conducted in September 2004, revealed that the parasitization level is increasing. This survey was only carried out from Sun Island resort, however, depending on the data further islands will be selected for surveying. The surveyed palms showed that parasitization level is increasing (Table 2), compared to that of earlier studies. The studies also looked into detail counts of different stages of the parasitoid on palms showing Brontispa infestation.

Table 2. Parasitization level of Brontispa


Average No. of Adult beetles

Average No. of L3 & L4 larvae

Total larvae/palm

% parasitised

Palms with no parasitoids

100

119

186

0

Palms with parasitoids

44

53

84

27.6

Although the number of surveyed palms were low (n = 5), palms infested with Brontispa with no parasitization shows higher numbers of adults and larvae. There is a two to three fold increase in the number of beetles and larva without the presence of the biological control agent. The conclusion from the on-going assessment studies include:

1.Following its initial release in February 2004, the larval paratosoid Asecodes hispinarum now appears established on Sun Island.

2.Observations indicate that many young, emerging coconut leaves show less damage.

3.There is yet no indication of a reduction in the number of trees damaged by Brontispa.

4. Brontispa and parasitoid populations vary considerably between individual trees, and it appears that they both are in a 'flux', typical of population dynamics in a host-parasitoid interactions, when the beneficial is increasing in numbers.

5.Parasitoids distribution appears somewhat 'clustered' to specific trees and not spread evenly over the island.

6.It is yet too early to determine the effectiveness of parasitoids in controlling Brontispa.

Parasitoid establishment on the inhabited islands of Maamigili and Fenfushi appears more difficult, despite the release of large numbers of adult parasitoids and mummies on both islands. A possible reason is the harsher environment on these islands: there is little free water, less greenery, and greater areas of brighter surfaces (white sand on roads; white/grey houses; generally less shade; and less flowering plants. In contrast, Sun Island is fully cultivated with flowering ornamentals, lawns, coconut palms and banana, and is frequently watered. There are less bright surfaces that reflect sunlight. These conditions are more conducive to parasitoid establishment.

Current status of Brontispa infestation in Myanmar

Kyu Kyu Swe Tin*

* Deputy Supervisor, Myanmar Agriculture Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Yangon, Myanmar; e-mail: ppmas.moai@mptmail.net.mm

Preamble

Brontispa longissima is a serious pest to the coconut trees and it has been known to occur in Myanmar since early 2004. It was introduced by unknown path way and the situation is under investigation. The FAO Resident Representative office is encouraged to investigate the infestation at the Department's earliest convenience and notify the scientists concerned from the FAO Regional Office for their information and requesting technical advice.

It was suggested by the Industrial Crop Officer from FAO Regional Office that the investigation should commence as soon as possible and also advised to acquire public awareness for the existence of this serious pest and seeking for appropriate control measures.

Work programme

Plant Protection Division of the Myanmar Agriculture Service had organized a workshop to initially investigate where the infestation of Brontispa occurred in Myanmar. The plant protection team leaders from Kayin State, Mon State and Tanintharyi Division sharing borders with Thailand had attended. Apart from those, other plant protection team leaders from Yangon Division, Bago Division and Ayerwady Division where coconut trees and ornamental plants are widely produced also participated.

Technical staff from Plant Protection Division had discussed the detailed features of the pest and its natural enemies, control strategies, etc. from the experiences of some other nations. A specific survey in line with International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 8 has been planned to be conducted in some designated States and Divisions.

Observation of naturally infested coconuts and other related species of plants are very critical for the Plant Protection Division due to inadequate information sources, expertise and equipments. Therefore, plant protection teams of two states and four divisions have been assigned to conduct the specific survey for Brontispa with available support.

Future aspects

Coconut has not been an important industrial crop to the country. However, oil palm is gaining significance with the emergence of oil palm industry in line with the country's ambition to produce sufficient amount of edible oil. The survey will be done in a few months for infestation of Brontispa in areas of oil palm lands. The plant protection team Leaders from those areas have reported problems other than Brontispa infestation that require further specific survey.

Control measures

Chemical control is not practicable in some coconut farms due to the height of the plants. For some smaller coconut trees and ornamental plants nearby, some sort of basal application of systemic insecticides is used. In the context of biological control thorough investigation on the use of entomo-pathogens like Metarhizium anisopliae is to be done. In 1990s, Plant Protection Division had some experiences in the application of Metarhizium anisopliae to control groundnut chafer beetle Anomala antiqua. Some cultures were still maintained in the biological control laboratory of IPM section; however research will be needed to verify the effectiveness of available strains against Brontispa.

Myanmar's perspective

Like some other nations in this region, Myanmar would like to share experiences and knowledge in this particular pest from any national or international agencies and has suggested obtaining opportunity for implementing regional TCP programme for coconut hispine beetle, Brontispa.

Current status of key coconut Hispine beetles in Sri Lanka

M.A.K. Wijesinghe*

* Research Officer, RARDC, Department of Agriculture, Makandura, Gonawila (NWP), Sri Lanka; e-mail: avanthiwije@yahoo.com

Introduction

Sri Lanka grows coconut as a main plantation crop. It occupies 440 000 ha of coconut lands in the country (Liyanage, 1999). Coconut plantations in Sri Lanka face many types of pest and disease problems. Among the pests, infestation of Chrysomelid beetles is one of the problems to coconut industry. Mainly two types of Chrysomelid beetles, Brontispa longissima and Plesispa reichei are reported to be attacking coconut palms in the world. However, P. reichei is still considered as a minor coconut pest whereas B. longissima is not reported in Sri Lanka (Fernando, 2004).

The pest, P. reichei was first reported from Walpita area (western province) (Anon, 1999) and now it is spreading to other coconut areas slowly. P. reichei attacks seedlings in the nursery as well as those established in the field.

Damage symptoms

Both adults and larvae damage the leaflets of young unopened fronds by feeding on tissues. The symptoms are prominent when the affected leaves become unfolded and green. Small brown patches of varying sizes and light brown streaks, which are typically parallel to the midrib could be observed in the opened green leaflets. The brown areas shrivel and curl, giving the leaf a characteristic scorched, ragged appearance.

Figure 1: Damaged shoot (left) Damaged leaves of a seedling (right)

Life cycle and morphology of the pest

No studies have been conducted on life cycle and other aspects the biology of this pest in Sri Lanka. However, literature shows that lifespan of the adult is about six to eight months. Head and thorax of the pest are brownish orange in colour while the abdomen is black. Males (about 6.5 mm long) are comparatively smaller than females (about 7.5 mm).

Figure 2: Adult (left) and larva (right) of P. reichei

The pest is now spreading to other coconut growing areas slowly. Further, it is noted that the stage of the damage, symptoms and morphology of the pest reported as P. reichei, is quite similar to those of B. longissima. Since B. longissima is present in our neighbouring island Maldives and many exchanges occur in between both countries daily, chances are higher to introduce the pest to our country. This suggests the necessity of re identification of the pest. If the pest B. longissima is already present, great care has to be taken to prevent its spread to other coconut growing areas as its damage is fatal.

A study has been conducted to screen some botanicals and synthetic insecticides against P. reichei at Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila, Sri Lanka. Chemical insecticides Marshal 20 percent EC and Chloropyrifos 20 percent EC have shown more promise in controlling the pest (Anon, 1999).

Other than chemicals, no possible IPM or biological control measures have been attempted yet. In adopting IPM and biological measures, biology, ecology and other relevant factors of the pest should be studied properly.

It does not matter if the pest is B. longissima or P. reichei, but it is interesting to note that the pest is spreading slowly. This may be attributed to the tolerance of palms, occurrence of natural enemies and some other unknown factors prevails in Sri Lanka. These should be explored and the findings could be exploited to control the pest under Sri Lankan conditions. The information could be very useful in formulating a sustainable IPM programme against B. longissima in other countries too, as both pests belong to the same family.

Pertinent litérature on B. longissima

Host range

B. longissima attacks several species of palmae (Arecaceae), however, coconut is the primary host. In addition, B. longissima attacks sago palms, areca or betel palm (Areca catechu), royal palms (Roystonea regia), oil palm and ornamental palms in Papua New Guinea. In northern Australia, hosts include areca palms (A. catechu), nicobar palm (Bentinckia nicobarica), carpentaria palm (Carpentaria acuminata) and fish tail palm (Caryota mitis). In Hong Kong, it is also reported from ivory nut palm (Phytelephas), petticoat palm (Washingtonia robusta), king palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae) and dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii). (Crop Protection Compendium, CABI International 2002).

Geography

B. longissima was originally described from the Aru Islands. It is native to Indonesia, possibly to Irian Java, and also to Papua New Guinea, including the Bismarck Archipelago, where it seldom causes serious problems. It was reported from the Solomon Islands in 1929 and from Vanuatu in 1937 (Risbec, 1942). Risbec (1942) stated that it had been present in New Caledonia for several years. B. longissima was reported from New Caledonia (Tahiti) (Cohic, 1961), American Samoa (Long, 1974) and Western Samoa (Anon, 1981). It is also present in northern Australia (Fenner, 1984) and Taiwan (Shiau, 1982).

B. longissima Gestro, was first found in Pingtung, Taiwan in 1975 (Anon 2004a). Later, it spread to north and east Hualien and Taitung, and has since become a serious pest to coconut palms.

B. longissima was detected in Hong Kong in 1988 infesting 30 petticoat palms in a nursery (Lau, 1991). Though it was eradicated, some reports show its establishment in Hong Kong and suspected that B. longissima was introduced from China, probably from the Shenzhen area of Guangdong province.

In Nauru, the pest was detected first in April 2001 (Anon 2004b). The pest has been reported in Maldives Island very recently (Anon 2004c).

Natural enemies of B. longissima

Three wasp parasitoids of B. longissima are known in Java. Two of these are egg parasitoids: the trichogrammatid Hispidophila brontispa; and the encyrtid Ooencyrtus pindarus. One H. brontispa wasp develops per Brontispa egg, producing about 15-17 percent parasitism (Kalshoven, 1981; Waterhouse and Norris, 1987), and O. pindarus produces about 10 percent parasitism (Kalshoven, 1981). The eulophid, Tetrastichus brontispa, which is found in 60-90 percent of the pupae (Awibowo, 1934) and 10 percent of the larvae, develops in 18 days; about 20 specimens emerge from one Brontispa pupa.

Parasitized larvae may die before pupation, but parasitoids will emerge. However, the level of parasitization by T. brontispa is not always high and Lange (1950) recorded an average of only 16 percent in pupae. The life cycle of T. brontispa is 16-21 days (Lever, 1936a, b; Lange, 1953). Tetratichus brontispa (Fern.) was introduced to Taiwan from Guam to control B. longissima in 1983. The percentage of parasitism recorded from field recoveries made in Chen-chin-hu and Lin-bien were 21.2-79.2 percent and 9.3-36.2 percent, respectively. (http://www.fftc.agnet.org/library/article/eb224a.html).

Two native wasp parasitoids are known in the Rabaul district of Papua New Guinea: the non-specific egg parasitoid, Trichogrammatoidea nana, and the eulophid larval parasitoid, Chrysonotomyia sp. A large percentage of Brontispa eggs are attacked by T. nana, which has also been bred from Brontispa eggs in the Solomon Islands. Chrysonotomyia sp. is comparatively rare.

Occasionally, Brontispa larvae have been killed by a bacterial disease (Froggatt and O'Connor, 1941; O'Connor, 1940) or by the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae in Papua New Guinea (Waterhouse and Norris, 1987). The fungus which was found to affect larvae, pupae and adult of Brontispa (Maddison, 1983) may be effective in managing B. longissima. M. anisopliae caused 15-20 percent mortality of both adults and larvae of Brontispa in American Samoa (Waterhouse and Norris, 1987).

In Australia, large numbers of torn, empty egg shells of Brontispa have been found in a nest of the ant, Tetramorium simillimum, but the significance of this ant in influencing numbers of the pest is unknown (Fenner, 1984). The ant Pheidole megacephala attacks T. brontispa in New Caledonia and both young larvae and parasitized pupae of Brontispa (Cochereau, 1965).

The earwig Chelisoches morio has been reported as a predator of B. longissima in Vanuatu (Risbec, 1933).

Metarhizium anisopliae is available in Sri Lanka. The natural enemies listed here and some other new natural enemies which are highly effective in controlling B. longissima could be present in Sri Lanka and other counties. These natural enemies and their role in manipulating the pest level below economic injury level could be explored and it would be much useful in formulating a suitable IPM package to control B. longissima.

References

Anon, 1981. New records. Quarterly Newsletter, FAO Plant Protection Committee for Southeast Asia and Pacific Region, 24:4-11.

Anon. 1999. Control of Plesispa reichei in coconut nurseries, Report of Crop Protection Division, Annual Report of the Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka. p. 151.

Awibowo R. 1934. The coconut leaf beetle, Brontispa froggatti var selebensis and its biological control in Celebes. Landbouw, 10:76-92.

Cochereau P. 1965. Notes on an attempt to acclimatise Tetrastichus brontispa Ferriere (Hym. Chalc. Eulophidae) on the host Brontispa longissima Gestro var froggatti Sharp (Col. Chrysom. Hispinae) in New Caledonia. Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaire des Seances de l'Academie d'Agriculture de France, 51:661-667.

Cohic F. 1961. Outbreaks and new records. FAO Plant Protection Bulletin, 9:109-111.

Crop Protection compendium, CABI International 2002.

Fenner T.L. 1984. Palm leaf beetle. Agnote 84/16. Northern Territory of Australia: Department of Primary Production.

Fernando, L.C.P. 2004. Achievements in pest and disease management of coconut in Sri Lanka. In Proccedings-1, 75th Anniversary Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka. 148-167 (Eds: TSG Peiris and C.S. Ranasinghe) 8-11, 2004, Hotel Trans Asia, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Froggatt JL. O'Connor B.A., 1941. Insects associated with the coconut palm. Pt. II. New Guinea Agricultural Gazette, 7:125-133.

Anon (2004a) http://www.fftc.agnet.org/library/article/eb224a.html

Anon (2004b) http://www.fao.or.th/Field_Operations/Countries/TCP_projects/NAU_TCP2901.htm

Anon (2004c) http://www.fao.or.th/Field_Operations/Countries/TCP_projects/MDV_TCP2904.htm

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