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Susceptibility and possible resistance mechanisms in the palm species Phoenix dactylifera, Chamaerops humilis and Washingtonia filifera against Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier, 1790) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

  • B. Cangelosi (a1), F. Clematis (a1), P. Curir (a1) and F. Monroy (a1)

Abstract

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, known as the Red Palm Weevil (RPW), is reported as a pest of up to 40 palm species. However, the susceptibility degree and the defense mechanisms of these species against this weevil are still poorly known. In Europe, the RPW is a major pest of Phoenix canariensis while other palm species, including the congeneric Phoenix dactylifera, seem to be less suitable hosts for this insect. The aim of our study was to compare the defensive response of P. dactylifera, Chamaerops humilis and Washingtonia filifera against R. ferrugineus and try to define the mechanisms of resistance that characterize these species. Bioassays were carried out to evaluate the mortality induced on RPW larvae by extracts from the leaf rachis of the studied palm species. Tests at semi-field scale were also conducted, based either on forced palm infestation, with larvae of RPW, or on natural infestation, with adult females. Rachis extracts from C. humilis and W. filifera caused 100% larval mortality after 2 days of exposure, while extracts of P. dactylifera did not impair larval survival. Independently of the effect of the leaf extracts, the weevils were unable to naturally infest the three palm species, although larval survival was high after forced infestation of the plants. We concluded that the observed lack of infestation of P. dactylifera by RPW is due to factors other than antibiosis. In W. filifera and C. humilis, although the presence of antixenosis mechanisms cannot be excluded, resistance to R. ferrugineus seems to rely on the presence of antibiosis compounds.

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*Author for correspondence Tel: +39 0184 694841 Fax: +39 0184 694856 E-mail: paolo.curir@entecra.it

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Bulletin of Entomological Research
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