Spatial characterization of common blossom thrips (Frankliniella schultzei) in smallholder avocado orchards along slopes of Taita Hills and Mount Kilimanjaro ( Vol-2,Issue-5,September - October 2017 )
Author: Odanga J. James, Samira Mohamed, Florence Olubayo, Richard Nyankanga, Irine A. Otieno, Sizah Mwalusepo, Geoffrey Mwachala, Tino Johansson
Keyword: Avocado, East Africa, Frankliniella schultzei, Mount Kilimanjaro, Taita Hills.
Abstract: Frankliniella schultzei Trybom (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) is an important flower pest of avocado crop (Persea americana Mill) at Taita Hills in South-eastern Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro in North-eastern Tanzania. However, its geographical distribution is not known in the East African avocado cropping systems. In order to generate the spatial data of the common blossom thrips (Frankliniella schultzei), a survey was carried out in small-holder avocado orchards along altitudinal gradient (900 - 1800m.a.s.l.) of Taita Hills and Mount Kilimanjaro using a white coloured beating tray and camel brush. Once the specimens of thrips were taxonomically verified, the abundance data was tabulated into three altitudinal zones, namely; lowland (900-1199m.a.s.l.), sub-montane (1200-1499m.a.s.l.) and montane (1500-1799m.a.s.l.). Frankliniella schultzei was recorded in all altitudinal zones of both transects with mean abundance being highest at Taita Hills (5.4) compared to Mount Kilimanjaro (0.9). However, abundance of the pest was greater in cooler highlands (>1200m.a.s.l.) than warmer lowland areas (<1200m.a.s.l.) of both transects. The findings of this study contributes significantly towards spatial mapping of Frankliniella schultzei in East Africa and this information is important in developing strategies aimed at controling infestation of avocado flowers by the insect pest at the two study transects.
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