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New Zealand Plant Protection 63 (2010): 275

The lifecycle and epidemiology of Bactericera cockerelli on three traditional Maori food sources

A.J. Puketapu


The tomato/potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc) (Hemiptera: Triozidae), is an introduced pest of solanaceous crops in New Zealand. A range of established plants play host to Bactericera cockerelli including three traditional Maori food sources: taewa or Maori potatoes (Solanum tuberosum ssp. andigena), kumara (Ipomoea batatas) and poroporo (Solanum aviculare). Taewa and kumara are highly susceptible to summer B. cockerelli infestation, whilst poroporo, an evergreen plant, remains susceptible year-round and provides overwintering refuge. Extensive monitoring of each host plant was carried out to determine the significance of each host in the lifecycle of B. cockerelli in New Zealand. Poroporo was monitored from late autumn for 6 months to determine if the plant served as a significant overwintering host for the pest after harvesting summer crops. Taewa and kumara plants were monitored throughout the summer growing season on a weekly basis, increasing to twice a week as populations proliferated. Host plants were monitored both in the natural environment and under laboratory conditions. Data collected contributed to tracking population development of B. cockerelli on each host including the length of each life stage (i.e. egg, nymph, adult). Comparisons between the three hosts revealed host preference, host suitability and the significance of each host in the lifecycle progression of B. cockerelli.

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