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Title: Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae): The Red Palm Mite: A Potential Invasive Pest of Palms and Bananas and Other Tropical Crops of Florida
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Peña, J.E.
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2006
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "Published: November 2006."
General Note: "EENY-376"
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ENY-837 Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae): The Red Palm Mite: A Potential Invasive Pest of Palms and Bananas and Other Tropical Crops of Florida1 J. E. Pea, C. M. Mannion, F. W. Howard and M. A. Hoy2 1. This document is EENY-376 (IN680), one of a series from the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Published: November 2006. Please visit the EDIS Website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 2. J. E. Pea and C. M. Mannion, Tropical Research and Education Center, Homestead, F. W. Howard, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Ft. Lauderdale, and M. A. Hoy, Department of Entomology, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Larry Arrington, Dean The red palm mite, Raoiella indica Hirst, also known as the coconut mite (A species of eriophyid mite, Aceria guerreronis Keifer, is also known by the common name coconut mite. It is a serious pest of the fruits (coconuts) of the coconut palm in many countries in the tropics of the Eastern and Western hemispheres.), coconut red mite, red date palm mite, leaflet false spider mite, frond crimsom mite, or scarlet mite, is an important pest of coconuts, date palms and other palm species, as well as a pest of bananas, beans, and durian in different parts of the world. Previous to its arrival in the New World, the mite was found in India, Philippines, Mauritius, Reunion, Malaysia, Israel and Egypt. Raoiella indica was found in Martinique and St. Lucia in 2004. During 2005, the mite was found in Dominica and during 2006 on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Guadeloupe, and Saint Martin (Kane et al., 2005; Etienne and Fletchmann, 2006). Kane and Ochoa (2006) reported widespread distribution of R. indica throughout St. Lucia on coconuts, observing that most of the lower leaves had high infestations ranging from 20-300 individuals. During 2005, R. indica was found infesting bananas on the island of Dominica (N. Commodore, pers. obs.). During 2006, Etienne and Fletchmann (2006) found R. indica infesting palms, banana, ginger, bird of paradise and other plants within the Musaceae (Table 1). Damage Young coconut palms appear to be the most severely injured. Raoiella indica lives on abaxial (lower) surfaces (Jepson et al., 1975; Etienne and Fletchmann, 2006) of coconut leaves where the eggs are deposited in colonies ranging in number from 110 to 330. In Saint Lucia, Kane and Ochoa (2006) observed that in coconuts, mite populations were on the underside of the leaflets, with a higher number on the lower leaves. Mites are located in groups ranging in number from 20 to 300 individuals (eggs, larvae, protonymphs and deutonymphs). There are no data regarding within-plant distribution in other host plants. Extensive yellowing of lower leaves may be symptomatic of either red palm mite feeding, or any of several pests or diseases of palms and other arborescent monocots. For example, red palm mite


Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae): The Red Palm Mite: A Potential Invasive.... 2 damage has sometimes been misdiagnosed in the field as lethal yellowing (LY), a highly prevalent disease of palms in southern Florida and various countries of the Caribbean Basin. Like the effects of red palm mite feeding, LY infection results in extensive chlorosis of the lower leaves. However, in a very early stage of LY disease, the emerging inflorescences become distorted and the male flowers, normally of an ivory, yellow, or orange color depending on variety, turn to the color of coffee grounds, and the coconuts of all stages of development drop from the tree. Of course, a key symptom that distinguishes red palm mite damage from LY is the presence of dense populations of a red mite visible with the naked eye on the abaxial surfaces of older foliage. The exuviae (cuticle tissue discarded at molting) of red palm mites may be present as scaly patches on the leaf surface. Figure 1. Coconut palm frond showing chlorosis and necrosis of the pinnae, Dominica. Credits: J. Pena, University of Florida Figure 2. Chlorosis and necrosis of pinnae appears to be more pronounced on basal fronds of coconut palms in the island of Dominica. Credits: J. E. Pena, University of Florida Figure 3. Detail of chlorosis and necrosis on coconut fronds, Dominica, 2005. Credits: J. E. Pena, University of Florida Description of Stages Males and females were described by Sayed (1942). Adult female red palm mites are red, typically with dark patches on the body, and about 0.32 mm long. Males are smaller than females and triangular in form. Dorsal setae are present on both sexes. The body of the red palm mite does not have a striae. The first pair of dorsocentral hysterosomal setae is longer than the others; the fourth pair of dorsosublateral setae is shorter than the first pair. All dorsal body setae are slightly clublike and serrate. The larvae are reddish and sluggish. The minute eggs (0.09 mm x 0.12 mm) are oblong smooth and red and attached to the abaxial leaf surface by a slender stalk in patches of 100-300 eggs (Welbourne 2006). Life Cycle The biology of R. indica was studied in India by Nagesha-Chandra and Channabasavanna. (1984). Under laboratory conditions, at temperatures between 24-26C and 60% RH, females completed their development in 24.5 days and males in 20.6 days; adult longevity was 50.9 days for females and 21.6 days for males. Fertilized females produced an average of 22 eggs and virgin females 18.4 eggs. In Mauritius, the preoviposition period is 3 days in summer and 7 days during the winter (Jepson et al., 1975). Females lay an average of 2 eggs per day over an average oviposition period of 27 days for a total of


Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae): The Red Palm Mite: A Potential Invasive.... 3 Figure 4. Females of R. indica on the underside of a palm frond. Credits: R. Duncan Figure 5. Male (right) and immatures of R. indica (egg on left; larva in middle). Credits: R. Duncan about 50 eggs per female. The time for development of each life stage is: egg, 6.1-6.5 days; larva, 5.7-9.5 days; protonymph, 5.4-6.5 days; and deutonymph 4.1-10.5 days. The time required to complete the life cycle is 21-33 days (Zaher et al., 1969; Jepson et al., 1975). Developmental ranges are influenced by temperature, RH and host plant (Zaher et al, 1969; Gerson et al., 1983). Figure 6. Skin casts left by mites attached to the surface of the adaxial surface of the leaf. These casts are regularly found close to the mid vein. Credits: R. Duncan Seasonality These mites are generally abundant in Mauritius on coconut from September to March, except when heavy rains occur during November and January. Starting in April, there is normally a decline in populations, which continues through August (Moutia 1958). In the summer the plants appear sickly and yellowish, a condition that may be the combined result of mite feeding and dry season conditions (Jepson et al., 1975). Howard et al. (2001) cite Sakar and Somchoudhury (1989) indicating that population build up is positively correlated with leaf moisture, crude protein and nitrogen levels in leaves in different coconut varieties. Dispersal Welbourn (2006) indicates that R. indica disperses by wind currents and transport of infested plants or leaves. Kane and Ochoa (2006) emphasize that dispersal could happen in the female stage. Mendonca et al. (2005) state that one of the most common ways of dispersal is through human activity in tourist areas where persons will come in contact with ornamental palms. Host Plants The current list of host plants of R. indica (Appendix 1) indicates that it is mostly found in palms followed by plants within the Musaceae and Zingiberaceae (Welbourn, 2006; Etienne and Fletchman, 2006). Inspection of several plants (Citrus spp., caladium, dracaena, periwinkle, tropical almond) located under infested coconuts in Trinidad showed that sometimes females fall onto these plants, but no eggs or immatures appear to develop on them (Pea, pers. obs.). Chemical Control Chemical applications are used in occasions of high density of the mite when it is affecting date palm in the UAE (Gassouma, 2005). In India, the application of neem oil sprays mixed with sulfur after a thorough cleaning of the coconut crown showed good results. The extract is sprayed from above, 5 to 6 times per year, and is possible with a sprayer-head attached to a long pole. The application of neem


Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae): The Red Palm Mite: A Potential Invasive.... 4 Figure 7. Banana leaf showing signs of infestation by the red palm mite, Trinidad, 2006. Credits: J. Pena, University of Florida Figure 8. Damage to banana; chlorosis of the leaf edge (A) followed by necrosis; necrosis is uniform on the leaf edge. Credits: J. Pena, University of Florida resulted in a yield increase of 25%. Saradamma (1972) determined that there was a decrease in mite density 14 days after application of parathion followed by an increase of the mite population. Nadarajan et al (1990) reported that several systemic insecticides exhibited toxicity to the larvae, nymphs and adults. Phosphamidon was considered slightly superior to monocrotophos, dimethoate, formothion and demeton-methyl. However, most of these products are not registered to be used in coconuts or bananas in Florida or Puerto Rico. Current knowledge of the effectiveness of chemical control of the red palm mite is based entirely on research in India and the Near East. The methods developed in that research would not be applicable to plantation or landscape situations in the Caribbean or Florida. (Etienne and Fletchman, 2006; Jalaluddin and Mohanasundaram, 1990; Jayaraj et al., 1991). Chemical control of other Tenuipalpidae in crops such as citrus have shown that, in combination with petroleoum oil, pyridaben, fenbutatin-oxide, dicofol or high rates of sulfur provided at least 35 days of control (Childers, 1994). Reisi et al. (2004) observed that abamectin and emamectin can be used to control larvae, nymphs and adults of Brevipalpus phoenicis. However, abamectin was found to be slightly and moderately noxious to predacious mites, while emamectin was shown to be innocuous and slightly noxious to phytoseiids. Natural Enemies In India, during a survey for the indigenous predators, several predators were discovered preying on R. indica. The phytoseiid mite, Amblyseius channabasavanni and lady beetle, Stethorus keralicus Kapur (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) were considered to be the most important predatory species (Daniel 1981). Puttaswamy and Rangaswamy (1976) cite S. kerlaicus feeding throughout the year on R. indica infesting coconut and areca palms in India. In the UAE, Gassouma (2005) indicates that there is natural control for the scarlet mite, but the author does not report the names of the natural enemies responsible for this type of control. The biology and habits of A. channabasavanni were determined by Daniel (1981), who found that A. channabasavanni females effectively consumed eggs and females of R. indica. Alternate food sources in the field included Tetranychus fijiensis, eggs and crawlers of scale insects and mealybugs that infest arecanut leaves. The field population of the predator was highest during May through June when R. indica populations were at their peak.. Moutia (1958) observed that in Mauritius the principal predator of R. indica in coconut plantations was Typhlodromus caudatus Chant (Amblyseius caudatus Berlese). The life cycle of this mite within a range of temperatures from 18 to 24.3C required 15 to 6 days, respectively. Nymphs and adults of this phytoseiid can consume an average of 10.6 eggs per day and a total of 493 eggs during their active life cycle. In India Gupta (2001) cites Amblyseius


Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae): The Red Palm Mite: A Potential Invasive.... 5 longispinus (= Neoseiulus longispinus Evans 1952) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) and Stethorus parcempunctatus and Jauravia sp. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) as important natural enemies in the area of Karnanka, while in the area of Kerala the prevalent predators are A. channabasavannai and Stethorus tetranychi Kapur. In India, Amblyseius raoiellis also is known to prey on R. indica. Nothing is known about the biology of this species. A related mite, Amblyseius near raoiellis has been collected in lime and mango in south Florida in fruits infested with Brevipalpus phoenicis (Pea, unpublished data). Ochoa (pers. comm) collected the predaceous mite Neoseiulus longispinosus (Evans), an old world species, preying on R. indica in Saint Lucia. Other natural enemies reported preying on R. indica in the Caribbean are Amblyseius largoensis (Phytoseiidae), Armascirus taurus (Kraemer) (Cunaxidae) and Telsimia ephippiger Chapin (Coccinellidae: Coleoptera). Pathogens A small portion of R. indica mites were observed by Ochoa (pers. Comm.) to be infected by a fungus, possibly, Hirsutella spp. Rosas-Acevedo and Sampedro-Rosas (2006) observed that the tenuipalpid Brevipalpus phoenicis, was infected by some isolates of Hirsutella thompsoni. However, only the HtM130 strain of H. thompsoni var. thompsoni displayed exudate formation of the sporulative phase. The same authors emphasize the importance of assessing the presence of native entomopathogens, before introducing commercial microorganisms or isolations from elsewhere so as not to affect the natural regulatory systems. Detection Federal and state plant pest regulations are designed to minimize the risk of introduction of exotic pests into Florida and elsewhere in the US. Enforcement of these regulations undoubtedly is largely effective, but unfortunately the high volume of travel and commerce in the world today has resulted in an unprecedented number of new exotic pest introductions into Florida and many other localities in recent years. New pests that are detected early before they spread over a large area may sometimes be eradicated. Therefore, professionals concerned with plant health in southern Florida and the Caribbean Region should be vigilant for the possible arrival of the red palm mite in countries not already affected. References Consulted or Cited Anonymous. 2006. Raoiella indica. Management and Biological Control. (http://ecoport.org/ep? Arthropod=363195&entityType=AR****&entityDisp layCategory=A). nBroschat, T., and J. Crane. 2005. The coconut palm in Florida. FS40, EDIS, University of Florida, IFAS, Extension Service. (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ MG043). Childers, C. 1994. Feeding injury to Robinson tangerine leaves by Brevipalpus mites (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) in Florida and Evaluation of Chemical Control on Citrus. Florida Entomol. 77: 265-271. Crane, J. C., C. Balerdi and placeI. McGuire. 2005. Banana growing in the placeStateFlorida home landscape. FC-10, EDIS, University of Florida, IFAS, Extension Service. (http://edis.ufl.edu). nDaniel, M. 1981. Bionomics of the predaceous mite Amblyseius channabasavanni (Acari: Phytoseiidae), predaceous on the palm mite Raoiella indica. In: 1st Indian Symposium in Acarology (G. P. Channabasvanna, ed.). April 23-25, Bangalore, India. pp: 167-173 Elwan, A. 2000. A survey of the insect and mite pests associated with date palm trees in Al-Dakhliya region, Sultanate of Oman. Egyptian J. Agric. Res.78:653-664. Etienne, J., and C. H. W. Fletchmann. 2006. First record of Raoiella indica (Hirst, 1924) (Acari:Tenuipalpidae) in Guadeloupe and Saint Martin, West Indies. Internat. J. Acarol. 32: 331-332. FAO International Phytosanitary Portal. Official Pest Report Dominica (2005-11-16). Report of Raoiella mite. Raoiella indica in the Americas. (https://www.ippc.int/id/nppodm?language=en).


Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae): The Red Palm Mite: A Potential Invasive.... 6 nGassouma, S.M. 2005. Pests of Date Palm (CityplacePhoenix dactilifera). (http://www.uae. gov.ae/uaeagricent/palmtree2/chap8.stm). Gerson, U., A. Venezian and D. Blumberg. 1983. Phytophagous mites on date palms in Israel. Fruits 38:133-135. Gupta, Y. N. 2001. A conspectus of natural enemies of phytophagous mites and mites as potential biocontrol agents of agricultural pests in India. In: International Congress of Acarology, R. Halliday, D. Walter, H. Proctor, R. Norton and M. Colloff, eds. 10. Collingwood, Australia. CSIRO Publishing. pp. 484-497. Howard, F. W., D. Moore, R. M. Giblin-Davis and R. G. Abad. 2001. Insects on palms. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK, 400 pp. Jepson, L. R., H. Keifer, and E. W. Baker. 1975. Mites injurious to economic plants., University of California Press, Berkeley, 614 p. Jalaluddin, S. M. and M. Mohanasundaran. 1990. Control of the red coconut mite Raoiella indica Hirst. (Tenuipalpidae:Acari) in the nursery. Indian Coconut Journal, Cochin 21:7-8. Jayaraj, J., K. Natarajan, and G. Ramasubramanian. 1991. Control of Raoiella indica Hirst (Tenuipalpidae:Acari) on coconut with pesticides. Indian Coconut Journal. Cochin 22:7-9. Kane, E. C., R. Ochoa, and E. F. Erbe. 2005. Raoiella indica Hist (Acari: Tenuipalpidae): An island-hopping mite pest in the Caribbean. Abstract. ESA Meeting, Fort Lauderdale, December 2005. Kane, E., and R. Ochoa. 2006. Detection and identification of the red palm mite Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari:Tenuipalpidae). USDA, ARS, Beltsville, MD, 6 pp. Mendonca, R. S., D. Navia, C. Fletchmann. 2005. Raoiella indica Hirst (Prostigmata:Tenuipalpidae), o acaro vermelho das palmeiras-uma ameaa para as Americas. Embrapa, Documentos 146, 37 pp. Moutia, L. A. 1958. Contribution to study of some phytophagous acarina and their predators in Mauritius. Bull. Entomol. Res/ 49:59-75. Nadarajan, L., G. Channabasavanna and B. K. Chandra. 1990. Control of coconut pests through stem injection of systemic insecticides. Mysore J. Agric. Sci. 14;355-364. Nagesha-Chandra, B. K. N., and G. P. Channabasavanna. 1984. Development and ecology of Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari:Tenuipalpidae) on coconut. In: Chichester, E., and Horwood, publ. Acarology VI: 2: 785-790. PROSEA. 2006. Areca catechu. Agroforestry Tree Database. (http://www.worldagroforestry. org/sea/Products/AFDbases/af/asp/SpeciesInfo.asp). Puttaswamy, and H. R. Rangaswamy. 1976. Stethorus keralicus Kapur (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), a predator of the areca palm mite. Current Research. 5: 27-28. Reisi, P., Neto, M. Franco and A. Viera. 2003. Control of Brevipalpus phoenicis and Oligonychus ilicis (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) in coffee plants and the impact on beneficial mites. Ciencia e Agrotecnologia. (http://www.editora.ufla.br/revista/28_2/art04.htm). Rosas-Acevedo, J.L., and L. Sampedro-Rosas. 2006. Variability of Hirsutella thompsonii strains, isolated from phytophagous mites from three terrestrial systems in the State of Colima, Mexico. Rev. Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 77: 7-16. Sakar, P. K., and A. K. Somchodhury. 1988. Evaluation of some pesticides against Raoiella indica Hirst on coconut palm in West Bengal. Pesticides. 22: 21-22. Sakar, P. K. and A. K. Somchodhury. 1989. Interrelationship between plant characters and incidence of Raoiella indica Hirst on coconut. Indian Journal of Entomology 51: 45-50. Saradama, K. 1972. Evaluation of toxicity of some pesticides to the red mite on coconut, Raoiella indica (Hirst) Phytotipalpidae. Agricultural Res. J. India. 10: 61-62.


Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae): The Red Palm Mite: A Potential Invasive.... 7 Sayed, T. 1942. Contribution to the knowledge of acarina in Egypt: The genus Raoiella Hirst (Pseudotetranychinae:Tetranychidae). Bull. Soc. Fouad ler DEntomologie. 26: 81-91. Somchoudhry, A.K., and P. K. Sarkar. 1987. Observations on natural enemies found in association with coconut mite, Raoiella indica Hirst. Bulletin of Entomology. 28: 104-107. Welbourn, C. 2006. Red Palm Mite Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae). Pest Alert. DPI-FDACS; 4pp. (http://www.doacs.state. fl.us/pi/enpp/ento/r.indica.html). Zaher, M. A., A. K. Wafa and A. A. Yousef. 1969. Biological studies on Raoiella indica Hirst and Phyllotetranychus aegyptiacus Sayed infesting date palm trees in U.A.R. (Acarina: Tenuipalpidae). Zeitschrift fr angewandte Entomologie. Pages and volume missing. Table 1. Host plant species of Raoiella indica. Plant Species Family Distribution Aiphanes sp. Arecaceae St. Lucia Areca catechu L. Arecaceae Asia Areca sp. Arecaceae Asia Cocos nucifera L. Arecaceae Asia, Mauritius, St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Trinidad, Guadeloupe, St. Martin Dictyosperma album (Borg.) Arecaceae Asia Dypsis lutescens (H. Wendl.) Arecaceae Asia Phoenix dactilifera Arecaceae Asia, Mauritius, Israel, Egypt Syagrus ramanzoffianum Glassman Arecaceae St. Lucia Veitchia merrillii (Becc.) Arecaceae St. Lucia, Martinique Licuala grandis H. Wendl. Arecaceae Guadeloupe Caryota mitis Lour. Arecaceae Guadeloupe Pricthardia pacifica B. C. Seem Arecaceae Guadeloupe Washingtonia robusta H. E. Moore Arecaceae Guadeloupe Musa spp. Musaceae Trinidad Musa acuminata Colla Musaceae St. Lucia, Dominica M. balbisiana Colla Musaceae St. Lucia, Dominica Musa uranoscopus Lour. Musaceae St. Lucia Musa x paradisiacal L. Musaceae St. Lucia, Dominica


Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae): The Red Palm Mite: A Potential Invasive.... 8 Table 1. Host plant species of Raoiella indica. Plant Species Family Distribution Ocimum basilicum L. Lamiaceae Asia Undetermined ginger Zingiberaceae St. Lucia Undetermined heliconia Musaceae Trinidad Heliconia rostrata R. Heliconaceae Guadeloupe Strelitzia reginae Banks Stretlitziaceae Guadeloupe Alpinia purpurata Vieill. ex. Schum. Zingiberaceae Guadeloupe Etlingera elatior (Jack.) R. M. Smith Zingiberaceae Guadeloupe