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A major subtropical fruit pest accumulates in crop fields and spills over to a wild host

Abstract : Wild plant species are often considered a source of crop pests in mixed landscapes but this view rarely considers pest spillover in the opposite direction (from crop fields to natural vegetation), or spatiotemporal variability in resources between crop and wild habitats. We investigate how infestation of mango crop (Mangifera indica, Anacardiaceae) and a related wild host (marula, Sclerocatya birrea, Anacardiaceae) by a major subtropical fruit crop pest (Ceratitis cosyra, Diptera: Tephritidae) varies with distance from the boundary between crop and natural vegetation. We determined how infestation of marula is associated with proximity to mango crops at field and landscape scales over two fruiting seasons on three farms in north-eastern South Africa. This is one of few studies to date to consider pest spillover from crop fields to natural vegetation and the only one performed in a biodiverse region with relatively little habitat transformation. Over three sampling periods, C. cosyra infestation of marula always decreased with distance from mango fields. At the landscape scale, marula alongside crop fields were 30 times more likely to be infested than in distant vegetation (1.3-6 km from mango), suggesting that spillover occurs from crop fields to natural vegetation. During late mango and marula fruiting, twice as many flies infested marula than mango. However, over the two months post-mango fruiting, up to 25 times more C. cosyra were trapped in mango fields than in bordering natural vegetation. Although pests spillover from crop fields into natural vegetation to use manila as an alternate host, biological control in the natural vegetation may eliminate this habitat as a pest reservoir outside the crop season. Other nearby crops may be more important than wild hosts for maintaining C. cosyra out of mango season. Landscape planning should consider proximity and arrangement of fields containing crops that host shared pests at different times of the year.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01604900
Contributor : Archive Ouverte Prodinra <>
Submitted on : Monday, October 2, 2017 - 9:10:04 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, December 10, 2020 - 12:33:14 PM

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Courtney Moxley, Wiebke Lammers, F. J. Frank van Veen, Elisa Thebault, Karen J. Esler, et al.. A major subtropical fruit pest accumulates in crop fields and spills over to a wild host. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Elsevier Masson, 2017, 242, pp.102-109. ⟨10.1016/j.agee.2017.03.024⟩. ⟨hal-01604900⟩

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