Locust and grasshopper outbreaks in Zululand sugarcane, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

Bam, Adrian Jock (2014-04)

Thesis (MScConEcol)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of the research presented in this dissertation was to investigate localised acridid outbreaks causing damage to sugarcane in Empangeni, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. Reports of outbreaks with increasing severity have occurred for the last six or seven years, which prompted this research. In general, little is known about acridid outbreaks in sugarcane due to their sporadic nature, therefore this project set out to identify morphologically and molecularly, all species associated with Empangeni sugarcane and to determine the ecology and population dynamics of the most important species, to provide baseline data for the development of an integrated pest management (IPM) plan against these crop pests. A year-long population survey was conducted on a number of affected farms and adjacent grassland sites to determine the life cycles, population density and composition of this acridid complex on these farms. Surveys showed that this complex comprised five species: Nomadacris septemfasciata, Petamella prosternalis, Ornithacris cyanea, Cyrtacanthacris aeruginosa and Cataloipus zuluensis. Observed damage was recorded throughout the year in order to correlate with species densities. It was found that damage was closely associated with two species, namely Petamella prosternalis and Nomadacris septemfasciata, therefore these two species are of particular concern due to their higher densities and large body size resulting in them being the biggest threat to Empangeni sugarcane. All five species are univoltine but two different life cycle strategies were discovered, 3 species exhibit a winter egg diapause while 2 species exhibit a winter adult reproductive diapause, an important finding considering the knowledge intensive method of control which has been proposed. Population surveys revealed a large difference in species composition among farms (sugarcane sites) and among grassland sites. Nomadacris septemfasciata and Petamella prosternalis showed a significant preference for sugarcane while species such as Cyrtacanthacris aeruginosa, Zonocerus elegans and Orthocta sp. seemed to prefer grassland sites. Feeding potential trials were completed on the two most economically important species, Nomadacris septemfasciata and Petamella prosternalis. The results showed that Petamella prosternalis has a significantly higher feeding potential (% leaf damage) compared to Nomadacris septemfasciata even though in terms of dry weight and length, it is a smaller specimen. Feeding data were used to determine the voracity of these two species under laboratory conditions. Petamella prosternalis eats roughly 1.83 grams of fresh sugarcane per day while Nomadacris septemfasciata eats approximately 1.16 grams per day. These results were then compared to observed field damage data in order to gauge their accuracy and applicability within a field setting, which showed that although sugarcane field damage is significantly correlated with the population fluctuations of both these species, it is more closely associated with Petamella prosternalis resulting in a correlation coefficient of 0.429143 while Nomadacris septemfasciata had a correlation coefficient of 0.250. Phase polyphenism in the red locust Nomadacris septemfasciata was investigated using three methods including traditional morphometrics (Elytra/Femur (E/F) ratio), hopper colouration and eye stripe data. The E/F ratio indicated that the majority of the Empangeni population sampled is in the transiens and gregarious phase with a mean E/F ratio of 2.0063 and that they seem to be becoming more gregarious over time, with populations in 2012 having a mean E/F ratio of 1.9973 and in 2013 a mean E/F ratio of 2.01315. Hopper colouration also indicates that populations are generally showing gregarious tendencies with the majority of hoppers exhibiting gregarious type colouration. Eye stripe data showed that the majority of adult specimens observed had seven eye stripes, an indication of gregarious individuals. Geometric morphometrics, a relatively new, software based technique which has not been used in phase polyphenism studies before was used as a means to accurately measure variations among populations of N. septemfasciata by measuring the variation in forewing shape according to allocated landmarks. The resulting shape variation were compared to traditional morphometrics in an attempt to relate the two techniques so that geometric morphometrics can possibly be used as a tool to study phase polyphenism in locusts in the future. The results indicate that similarities in terms of location and gender exist between the two methods, however the exact same individuals should be used for both methods which will improve the accuracy of comparisons. This study, for the first time identified the acridid complex causing damage to Empangeni sugarcane and provided a broad summary of the potential impact the complex has on the crop as well as what may be causing them to occur in this area such as optimal habitat conditions and sugarcane as a preferable host plant being two factors which are likely to be having an influence. The findings of this study provide the baseline data needed in order to develop a more integrated and sustainable approach to controlling these acridids pests. Understanding the biology of the species enables practitioners to make more effective management decisions which is clearly needed as the current techniques being used have not solved the ‘grasshopper problem’.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van die navorsing wat in hierdie verhandeling was om ondersoek in te gelokaliseerde acridid uitbrekings veroorsaak skade aan suikerriet in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, Suid-Afrika. Verslae van die uitbreek met toenemende erns plaasgevind het vir die laaste 6-7 jaar, wat gelei het tot hierdie navorsing. In die algemeen, is min bekend oor acridid uitbreek in suikerriet as gevolg van hul sporadiese aard, daarom is hierdie projek uiteengesit morfologies en molekulêre identifiseer, al die spesies wat verband hou met Empangeni suikerriet en die ekologie en bevolkingsdinamika van die belangrikste spesies te bepaal, te voorsien basislyn data vir die ontwikkeling van 'n geïntegreerde plaagbestuur (GPB) plan teen hierdie oes peste. 'N jaar lank bevolking opname is uitgevoer op 'n aantal plase wat geraak is en aangrensende grasveld plekke om die lewensiklus te bepaal, bevolkingsdigtheid en samestelling van hierdie acridid kompleks op die plase . Opnames het getoon dat hierdie komplekse bestaan uit vyf spesies: Nomadacris septemfasciata, Petamella prosternalis, Ornithacris Cyanea, Cyrtacanthacris aeruginosa en Cataloipus zuluensis Waargeneem skade is aangeteken deur die jaar ten einde te ooreenstem met spesie digtheid. Daar is gevind dat die skade was nou verbind met twee spesies, naamlik P. prosternalis en N. septemfasciata, dus is die twee spesies van besondere belang as gevolg van hul hoër digtheid en 'n groot liggaam grootte lei daartoe dat hulle die grootste bedreiging vir die Empangeni suikerriet. Al vyf spesies is univoltine maar twee verskillende lewensiklus strategieë ontdek, 3 spesies toon 'n winter eier diapouse terwyl 2 spesies toon 'n winter volwasse reproduktiewe diapouse, 'n belangrike bevinding oorweging van die kennis intensiewe metode van beheer wat is voorgestel. Bevolking opnames openbaar 'n groot verskil in spesies samestelling onder plase (suikerriet webwerwe) en onder grasveld webwerwe. Nomadacris septemfasciata en Petamella prosternalis het 'n beduidende voorkeur vir suikerriet, terwyl spesies soos Cyrtacanthacris aeruginosa, Zonocerus elegans en Orthocta SP. gelyk grasveld webwerwe te verkies. Voeding potensiaal proewe is op die twee mees ekonomies belangrike spesies voltooi, Nomadacris septemfasciata en Petamella prosternalis Die resultate het getoon dat Petamella prosternalis het 'n aansienlik hoër voeding potensiaal(% blaarskade) in vergelyking met Nomadacris septemfasciata selfs al in terme van droë gewig en lengte, is dit is 'n kleiner model. Voeding data is gebruik om die gulzig van hierdie twee spesies onder laboratorium toestande te bepaal. Petamella prosternalis eet ongeveer 1.83 gram vars suikerriet per dag, terwyl Nomadacris septemfasciata eet ongeveer 1,16 gram per dag. Hierdie resultate is dan in vergelyking met waargeneem veld skade data om die akkuraatheid en toepaslikheid in 'n veld omgewing, wat getoon het dat hoewel suikerriet veld skade beduidend gekorreleer met die bevolking skommelinge van beide hierdie spesies, is nouer dit verband hou met Petamella prosternalis te meet lei tot 'n korrelasie koëffisiënt van 0.429143 terwyl Nomadacris septemfasciata het 'n korrelasie koëffisiënt van 0.250408 Fase polyphenism in die rooisprinkaan Nomadacris septemfasciata is ondersoek met behulp van drie metodes, insluitend tradisionele Morphometricsveld (Elytra/Femur (E/F) verhouding), hopper kleur en oog streep data. Die Elytra te Femur verhouding (E/F -verhouding) het aangedui dat die meerderheid van die bevolking is Empangeni in die transiens en gesellige fase met 'n gemiddelde E/F verhouding van 2,0063 en dat dit lyk asof hulle meer kuddedier met verloop van tyd, met bevolkings in 2012 met 'n gemiddelde E/F verhouding van 1,9973 en in 2013 'n gemiddelde E/F verhouding van 2,01315 . Hopper kleur dui ook aan dat die bevolking in die algemeen toon kuddedier neigings Thye meerderheid van hoppers uitstal gesellige tipe kleur. Oog streep het getoon dat die meerderheid van die volwasse eksemplare waargeneem het sewe oog strepe: 'n aanduiding van die gesellige individue. Geometriese Morphometricsveld, 'n relatief nuwe, sagteware gebaseer tegniek wat nie gebruik is in fase polyphenism studies voor was gebruik as 'n middel tot verskille tussen bevolkings van die rooisprinkaan akkuraat te meet deur die variasie meet in voorvlerk vorm volgens toegeken landmerke Die gevolglike vorm variasie is in vergelyking met die tradisionele Morphometricsveld in 'n poging om die twee tegnieke in verband te bring , sodat meetkundige Morphometricsveld kan moontlik as 'n instrument fase polyphenism om te studeer in sprinkane in die toekoms gebruik kan word. Die resultate dui daarop dat die ooreenkomste in terme van ligging en geslag bestaan tussen die twee metodes is egter presies dieselfde individue moet gebruik word vir beide metodes wat die akkuraatheid van vergelykings verbeter. Hierdie studie, wat vir die eerste keer geïdentifiseer die acridid kompleks om skade aan Empangeni suikerriet en verskaf 'n breë opsomming van die potensiële impak van die kompleks het op die gewas sowel as wat kan veroorsaak word om hulle te kom in hierdie gebied soos optimale habitat toestande en suikerriet as 'n beter gasheer plant. Die bevindinge van hierdie studie verskaf die basislyn data wat nodig is om 'n meer geïntegreerde en volhoubare benadering tot die beheer van hulle as die begrip van die biologie van die spesie in staat stel om praktisyns meer effektiewe bestuur besluite wat duidelik nodig is as 'n die huidige tegnieke gebruik moet maak om te ontwikkel nie opgelos die "sprinkaan probleem".

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