Within-Plant Distribution of Onion Thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in Onions

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Two aspects of the within-plant distribution of Thrips tabaci Lindeman (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on onion, Allium cepa L., plants were investigated: 1) diurnal variations in the distribution of adults and larvae between basal and upper sections of onion leaves, and 2) between-leaf and within-leaf distribution of the eggs. The diurnal investigations showed that higher proportions of larvae than of adults congregated at the basal sections of plants, particularly when plants were young and thrips density was low. As plants matured and thrips density increased, the larvae became more dispersed. Regardless of plant size, there were always more adults in the upper than basal plant sections. There were no clear time-windows during the 24-h diurnal cycle when more thrips were in the upper plant parts. T. tabaci eggs were laid everywhere in the plant. Leaves of intermediate ages had more eggs than older or younger leaves. Within leaves, the white leaf sheath received the least eggs and leaf tips received slightly more eggs than leaf sheaths. The highest egg density was found between the green leaf base and the leaf tips. Regardless of plant size, more than half of all eggs were laid above the basal sections. The percentage increased to >95% in mature plants. Except when plants were small the outer leaves were preferred over inner leaves and upper leaf sections preferred over lower leaf sections as egg-laying sites by adults. Implications of the results in the management of T. tabaci are discussed.

Keywords: Allium cepa; Thrips tabaci; onion thrips; within-plant distribution

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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