Morphometric comparisons of citrus rust mite (Phyllocoptrulla oleivora) populations in Texas and Kenya

Monday, November 11, 2013
Exhibit Hall 4 (Austin Convention Center)
Steven Michael Reyna , Citrus Center, Texas A&M University, Weslaco, TX
Mamoudou Setamou , Citrus Center, Texas A&M University, Weslaco, TX
Sunday Ekesi , International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya
Phyllocoptruta oleivora (Acari: Eriophyidae) or the citrus rust mite (CRM), is one of the main economically damaging pest of citrus worldwide. It feeding causes conspicuous injury to the fruit leading to blemishes and discolored rinds known as bronzing and shark skins, such damage renders the fruit unmarketable as fresh fruit and ultimately leads to economic losses. In both Kenya and in Texas, CRM is poorly studied and management programs rely heavily on pesticides, which can have negative affects to one’s health and the environment. Compounding the problems further, poor taxonomic characteristics and CRM’s minute size, make proper identification difficult without the aid of a high-powered microscope, and therefore cryptic species can occur. Cryptic species may occur within a citrus tree, citrus grove, variety or geographical area, and different species may respond to pesticides differently to pesticides, which can seriously impede management strategies. The purpose of this study is to assess the population of CRM in Texas and in Kenya, using morphological characteristic. The data collected during this study will serve as a baseline of knowledge that will be used for the development of sustainable CRM management program.