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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Afrique du Sud → The phenologies of macadamia (Proteaceae) and thrips (Insecta : Thysanoptera) communities in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

Rhodes University (2015)

The phenologies of macadamia (Proteaceae) and thrips (Insecta : Thysanoptera) communities in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

Hepburn, Colleen

Titre : The phenologies of macadamia (Proteaceae) and thrips (Insecta : Thysanoptera) communities in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

Auteur : Hepburn, Colleen

Université de soutenance : Rhodes University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2015

Résumé
Macadamia (Proteaceae) is indigenous to Australia ; four of the nine species have been used in plant breeding for cultivation and the production of a rapidly growing product. First introduced to Hawaii in the 1880s, macadamias’ potential as a crop was only really considered in 1910. It is due to the early Hawaiian pioneers’ research and the development of Hawaiian cultivars upon which most of the current world’s production is based today. Prior to the 1980s, cultivation in Australia was based mainly on Hawaiian cultivars. Extensive research has been conducted on cultivar development, performance, best practice, production, crop protection and processing. South Africa has become one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of macadamias. The cultivation of macadamia in South Africa began 80 years ago, but the phenology of macadamia has not been rigorously studied under local conditions, and neither has the thrips communities in macadamia. Data collected during this study on the macadamia phenological stages can be used as a foundation on which seasonal data of all insect pests can be plotted, as a basis on which an extensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme can be developed for the macadamia industry in South Africa. Extensive sampling of thrips communities present in macadamias was undertaken over two years, with more than 142,000 individuals collected. The most basic, common trait into which specimens could be sorted were colour groups. Specimens from each colour group were identified through slide-mounting individuals. Fifteen species of thrips were identified to species-level, excluding specimens from the Panchaetothripinae, Haplothrips and Scolothrips which occurred only periodically. The presence of larvae indicated that macadamia is a host plant for some species. Due to their size and morphology, identification i of the total collection could not be processed to species level using a dissection microscope, although Scirtothrips aurantii Faure were distinguishable from other species and their distribution over the seasons observed. Due to logistical constraints and events beyond the author’s control, the results are mainly qualitative. There seems to be phenological variation within and between cultivars. The date of anthesis and duration of immature nut-drop was estimated ; some cultivars set out- of-season flowers and nuts ; this “secondary crop” could have far-reaching effects on the implementation of an IPM programme. Comparisons of the phenological data of macadamia and thrips showed the highest abundances and diversity of thrips species occurred when flowers were present. An extensive study of abscised nuts showed no significant difference between most cultivars or at the sites where management practices were implemented and those sites where these practices were not. There was however a consistent difference between the two seasons. There was no difference in maturity of abscised nuts, regardless of whether thrips damage to the husk was present or not. Excessive Bathycoelia distincta (Hemiptera : Pentatomidae) damage was found on the kernels of the abscised nuts processed for maturity testing, which is more likely to have been the primary cause of abscission. The Author’s opinion is that thrips damage to the outer husk does not lead to abscission of maturing nuts. Ascertaining the cause of abscission at nut-set and immature nut-drop is more problematic as there are numerous other potential causes. Damage to new flush, especially the late summer flush essential for the build-up of carbohydrates and resources for the following yield, should be carefully monitored and controlled when necessary.

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