Biology and ecology of the false codling moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick)

De Jager, Zoe Marthalise (2013-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Thaumatotibia leucotreta, the false codling moth (FCM), is a phytosanitary pest in South Africa posing a substantial threat to many of the country’s international export markets. Its pest status is of high importance because it has a wide ecological range and has been reported in all areas where citrus is produced in South Africa. Many methods of control have been implemented, such as chemical and cultural control, mating disruption and sterile insect releases. There was a need to obtain a more accurate understanding of FCM biology on deciduous fruit in South Africa and this then us to pose the questions described in the chapters to follow. The first aim was focused on the possibility of FCM diapause during winter. If FCM were to undergo diapause this could pose further problems for control methods, but knowledge thereof could also assist in more accurate and timely control methods. Considering past research on other Lepidoptera species, four physiological traits were chosen as indicative of a diapause state. Water loss rate, metabolic rate and the supercooling points should be lower if the individuals were in a diapause state, with a higher fat content expected for these individuals. Diapause induction was attempted through a gradual lowering of the environmental temperature in combination with longer nights to simulate overwintering conditions. Diapause was not observed in these experimental individuals. The second aim was to better understand the field biology of FCM. This was studied through in-field flight ability studies and damage assessments on four fruit kinds. Six release dates were used to measure the flight ability. The highest recapture rates were at minimum temperatures above 16°C and maximum temperatures averaging above 30°C, although the recapture rates were not significant in relation to the amount released. The recapture rates in the different fruit kinds were not significantly different, with the amount recaptured at the closest distance of 30 m being significantly more than that of the other distances. This was also only for the last release at the warmest temperatures. Fruit damage assessments were conducted and we were able to rear wild FCM from Granny smith apples, Forelle pears, Larry Ann plums and Satsuma and Clementine citrus cultivars. Citrus infestations had the highest count and a prolonged occurrence compared to the other varieties, due to its later harvest period. The third aim was to study the developmental parameters of FCM in different fruit kinds and an artificial medium. Firstly, FCM did not infest apples, Royal Gala and Pink lady’s, under laboratory conditions. Results were obtained using Forelle pears, Clementines and Thompson seedless grapes. On average the grapes had the shortest FCM developmental time from egg to adult stage, followed by oranges and then pears. Pears had the lowest developmental success rate, with that of oranges and grapes being much higher. Infestations took place at the stalk end of the fruit for the grapes and oranges, with the pears being infested at the calyx end. Future research should include an in-field life cycle, to determine the life cycle of FCM on different economically important fruit kinds under field conditions. The focus could also be shifted to where FCM overwinter, leading to better preventative control leading to lower infestation pressure during harvest periods. This is of utmost importance in an environment where maximum residue levels for pesticides dictate market access.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Thaumatotibia leucotreta, die vals kodling mot (VKM) is ‘n fitosanitere pes in Suid Afrika, wat kan lei tot groot finansiele verliese. Die VKM se wye gasheerreeks en die feit dat dit al in al die sitrus verbouings-areas in Suid Afrika opgelet is, maak dit ‘n ernstige pes. Daar word van verskeie beheer metodes gebruik gemaak, insluitend chemiese en kulturele metodes. In sommige areas word daar ook van paaringsontwrigting en steriele insek vrylatings gebruik gemaak en hierdie metodes word gewoonlik met ander gekombineer. Daar is ‘n groot behoefte vir meer inligting omtrent die status van VKM in sagtevrugte in Suid Afrika en het gelei tot die vrae wat in hierdie studie aangespreuk word. Die eerste doelwit was om te bepaal of die VKM wel diapouse ondergaan. Dit sal verskeie beheermetodes belemmer, maar kennis hiervan kan meer gefokusde en gevolglik meer effektiewe beheermaatreels tot gevolg hê. Daar is gekyk na vier fisiologiese eienskappe wat beduidend tot diapouse van ander Lepidoptera spesies is. Daar word verwag dat VKM wat diapouse ondervind ‘n hoër vetinhoud sal he, terwyl die metabolise tempo, “supercooling’ punte en tempo van waterverlies laer sal wees. Hierdie eienskappe kon egter nie by die individue geidentifiseer word nie. Ons het diapouse probeer induseer deur gebruik te maak van ‘n gesimuleerde oorgang na winterstoestande in die laboratorium. Die toestande het toegelaat vir korter dae en laer gemiddelde temperature gedurende beide die dag en nag. Die tweede doelwit waarna gekyk is, is die bepaling van VKM se beweging in die boorde en die vrugskade op verskillende vrugsoorte. Daar kon ‘n duidelike tendens geidentifiseer word in die toename van VKM hervangs by temperature bo ‘n minimum van 16°C en gemiddelde maksimum bo 30°C. Daar was 6 vrylatings periodes, met geen betekenisvolle getalle van hervangs nie. Daar was geen betekenisvolle verskille tussen die hervangsgetalle in die verskillende vrugsoorte nie, alhoewel die 30m lokval ‘n betekenisvol hoër gemiddelde hervangs gehad het, in vergelyking met lokvalle by 60m en 90m. Die hoeveelheid vrugskade is ook gemonitor op Granny smith appels, Forelle pere, Larry Ann pruime en Satsuma en Clementine sitrus kultivars. Die vrugte is na die laboratorium geneem waar die VKM tyd gegee is om uit te broei. Al die vrugsoorte het VKM volwassenes opgelewer, maar die eksperiment kon nie op appels in die laboratorium herhaal word tydens die toets van verkillende onwikkeling stadiums nie. Ons glo dus die VKM wat hier vanaf appels uitgebroei het, is weens sekondere infeksies in die boorde. Die hoogste skadetelling is in die sitrusboord gevind. Die derde doelwit was om die duur van onderskeie ontwikkeling stadiums te bepaal op vier vrugsoorte, sowel as op ‘n kunsmatige medium. Ons het ondervind dat die VKM nie Royal Gala of Pink lady kultivars kan infesteer onder laboratorium toestande nie. Die vrugsoorte wat dus ontwikkeling kon onderhou was Forelle pere, Clementines en Thompson pitlose druiwe. Die ontwikkeling vanaf eier na volwasse stadium was die kortste op druiwe, gevolg deur lemoene en pere. Die pere het die minste VKM onderhou in vergelyking met die lemoene en druiwe. Al die vrugte is binnegedring naby die aansluiting van die stingel aan die vrugte, behalwe die pere wat nader aan die kelk binnegedring is. Toekomstige navorsing sal gefokus moet word op die lewenssiklus in die veld, vir die verskillende vrugsoorte. Daar sal ook gekyk moet word na die spesifieke alternatiewe gashere of plekke waar die VKM kan oorwinter sodat beheer meer voorkomend plaas kan vind. Dit sal infestasie vlakke onderdruk, om veral laer druk tydens oesperiodes te verseker. Dit is uiters belangrik om beheer stategieë te kombineer met die hoeveelheid druk vanaf uitvoermarkte oor maksimum residu vlakke van chemiese middels.

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