The lower termite, Coptotermes curvignathus, is one of the most prominent plantation pests that feed upon, digest, and receive nourishment from exclusive lignocellulose diets. The objective of this study was to examine the utilization of sole carbon sources by isolated culturable aerobic bacteria among communities from the gut and foraging pathway of C. curvignathus. We study the bacteria occurrence from the gut of C. curvignathus and its surrounding feeding area by comparing the obtained phenotypic fingerprint with Biolog's extensive species library. A total of 24 bacteria have been identified mainly from the family Enterobacteriaceae from the identification of Biolog Gen III. Overall, the bacteria species in the termite gut differ from those of foraging pathway within a location, except Acintobacter baumannii, which was the only bacteria species found in both habitats. Although termites from a different study area do not have the same species of bacteria in the gut, they do have a bacterial community with similar role in degrading certain carbon sources. Sugars were preferential in termite gut isolates, while nitrogen carbon sources were preferential in foraging pathway isolates. The preferential use of specific carbon sources by these two bacterial communities reflects the role of bacteria for regulation of carbon metabolism in the termite gut and foraging pathway.
Nepenthes pitcher plants are colonized by a variety of specialized arthropods. As Aedes mosquitoes are container breeders, Nepenthes pitchers are a potential candidate oviposition site for vector species, such as Aedes aegypti (L.) and Aedes albopictus (Skuse). However, Aedes spp. are not commonly encountered in Nepenthes pitchers, and the environment inside the pitchers of some species is lethal to them. One exception is Nepenthes ampullaria Jack, whose pitchers are known to be colonized by Ae. albopictus on very rare occasions. Given that Ae. albopictus larvae can survive in N. ampullaria pitcher fluids, we sought to determine why pitcher colonization is rare, testing the hypothesis that gravid Aedes mosquitoes are deterred from ovipositing into container habitats that have similar characteristics to N. ampullaria pitchers. Using plastic ovitraps of different sizes, colors, and with different types of fluids (based on the characteristics of N. ampullaria pitchers), we compared oviposition rates by Aedes mosquitoes in urban and rural areas within the geographical range of N. ampullaria near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ovitraps that were black and large (>250-ml capacity) accumulated significantly more eggs than ovitraps that were smaller, or green in color. In terms of size and color, small, green ovitraps are analogous to N. ampullaria pitchers, indicating that these pitchers are not particularly attractive to gravid Ae. albopictus. Although Aedes spp. are capable of colonizing N. ampullaria pitchers, the pitchers are relatively unattractive to gravid females and do not represent a significant habitat for larvae of dengue vectors at present.
Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) or the Asian subterranean termite is a serious structural pest in urban settlements in Southeast Asia that has been introduced to other parts of the world through human commerce. Although mitochondrial DNA markers were previously used to shed light on the dispersal history of the Asian subterranean termite, there were limited attempts to analyze or include populations of the termite found in the wild in Southeast Asia. In this study, we analyzed the 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) genes of Asian subterranean termite colonies found in mangrove swamps, beach forests, plantations, and buildings in semi-urban and urban areas to determine the relationship between colonies found in the wild and the urban habitat, and to investigate the possibility of different ecotypes of the termite in Peninsular Malaysia. Our findings show that the 16S rRNA haplotypes recovered from this study clustered into eastern, western, and southern populations of the termite, while the cox1 haplotypes were often specific to an area or site. The 16S rRNA and cox1 genes or haplotypes showed that the most abundant haplotype occupied a wide range of environments or habitats. In addition, the cox1 tree showed evidence of historical biogeography where basal haplotypes inhabited a wide range of habitats, while apical haplotypes were restricted to mangrove swamps and beach forests. Information on the haplotype-habitat association of C. gestroi will enable the prediction of habitats that may harbor or be at risk of invasion in areas where they have been introduced.
Paederus fuscipes Curtis, a dermatitis linearis causing agent, has received increasing attention from the public, as it poses a serious health threat after mass dispersal into human-dominated areas. Preventive measures against this insect have so far been unsuccessful partly because of limited knowledge about its dispersal pattern. In this study, the dispersal activity of P. fuscipes was studied at infestation-prone residential buildings in Mainland Penang, Malaysia. The dispersal activity of P. fuscipes showed two peaks, that is, from February to April and August to October. Overall, there was no statistical significant correlation between dispersal and climatic parameters, that is, temperature, relative humidity, total rainfall, at all sampling localities. However, dispersal was primarily caused by human activities in rice fields, which accounted for >60% of the variability in dispersal. Particularly, rice harvesting, including straw burning, and cultivation were the major factors triggering P. fuscipes dispersal. These activities presumably disrupted the habitat and normal activities of P. fuscipes and rendered the rice fields unfavorable refuges. In addition, the beetles might also face food shortages after the disturbance of their prey base in the crop fields. The current study provides a predictive tool of P. fuscipes flight periods to ensure insecticide residual spraying is timed in the infestation-prone residential areas before the onset of infestation.
For successful parasitism, parasitoid females must oviposit and the progeny must develop in individual hosts. Here, we investigated the determinants of host acceptance for oviposition and host suitability for larval development of Drosophila parasitoids from Bogor and Kota Kinabalu (≍1,800 km northeast of Bogor), Indonesia, in tropical Asia. Asobara pleuralis (Ashmead) from both localities oviposited frequently (>60%) in all of the drosophilid species tested, except the strain from Kota Kinabalu oviposited rarely (10%) in Drosophila eugracilis Bock & Wheeler. Leptopilina victoriae Nordlander from both localities only oviposited frequently (>77%) in species from the Drosophila melanogaster species group except D. eugracilis (<3.7%), whereas Leptopilina pacifica Novković & Kimura from Bogor oviposited frequently (>85%) only in species from the Drosophila immigrans species group. Thus, host acceptance appeared to be affected by host taxonomy, at least in Leptopilina species. Host suitability varied considerably, even among closely related drosophilid species, which suggests that the host suitability is at least in part independent of host taxonomy and that it has been determined via parasitoid-host coevolutionary interactions (i.e., arms race). Host acceptance did not always coincide with host suitability, i.e., parasitoids sometimes oviposited in unsuitable host species. Geographic origin strongly affected the host acceptance and suitability in the A. pleuralis-D. eugracilis parasitoid-host pair, whereas it only weakly affected the acceptability and suitability in other parasitoid-host combinations.
Populations of several thrips species were estimated using yellow sticky traps in an orchard planted with mango, Mangifera indica L. during the dry and wet seasons beginning in late 2008-2009 on Penang Island, Malaysia. To determine the efficacy of using sticky traps to monitor thrips populations, we compared weekly population estimates on yellow sticky traps with thrips population sizes that were determined (using a CO(2) method) directly from mango panicles. Dispersal distance and direction of thrips movement out of the orchard also were studied using yellow sticky traps placed at three distances from the edge of the orchard in four cardinal directions facing into the orchard. The number of thrips associated with the mango panicles was found to be correlated with the number of thrips collected using the sticky trap method. The number of thrips captured by the traps decreased with increasing distance from the mango orchard in all directions. Density of thrips leaving the orchard was related to the surrounding vegetation. Our results demonstrate that sticky traps have the potential to satisfactorily estimate thrips populations in mango orchards and thus they can be effectively employed as a useful tactic for sampling thrips.
The fungus-growing termite, Macrotermes gilvus (Hagen), an indigenous species from Southeast Asia distributed from Myanmar to Indonesia and the Philippines, offers great potential as an ecological model system to elucidate the effects of geography on gene flow within this region. We used next generation sequencing (Roche 454 pyrosequencing) to identify microsatellite markers from the genomic DNA of M. gilvus. A modest sequencing volume generated 34,122 reads, with 1,212 (3.6%) reads contains microsatellites with di-, tri-, tetra-, penta-, and hexa-nucleotide repeat motifs. Thirty-seven loci were selected for primer development and tested for polymorphism across 22 colonies of M. gilvus. Eleven loci were found to be polymorphic with 2-4 alleles per locus. Observed and expected heterozygosities ranged between 0.091-0.727 and 0.090-0.540, respectively. Cross taxa amplification was successful across a panel of four related termite species and four multiplex groups were designed for future population genetic studies. These markers will open new avenues for the study of phylogeography and population genetics of this fungus-growing termite. This study also has effectively demonstrated the use of 454 pyrosequencing for the rapid development of informative microsatellite markers from a termite genome.
Thrips are key pests of mango, Mangifera indica (L.), in Malaysia, including the Northern Peninsular. As Penang has year-round equatorial climate and high of rainfall, the populations of thrips may be subject to variations in composition and size. With a goal of developing an appropriate control strategy, a survey was conducted in Penang to determine species composition and abundance in relation to some environmental factors. Sprayed and unsprayed orchards were sampled on weekly basis through two flowering seasons of 2009 using CO(2) collection technique. Larval population falling into the ground to pupate and adults emerging from the soil were investigated in both orchards. Thrips hawaiiensis (Morgan) and Scirtothrips dorsalis (Hood) were the most prevalent species in the sprayed and the unsprayed orchards, respectively. The abundance of thrips was high during the flowering period of the dry season and decreased during the flowering period of the rainy season. This latter period coincided with decreased temperature and increased relative humidity. Percentage of adult emergence from the soil was lower in the rainy season than recorded in the dry season in both orchards. Taken together, these observations suggest that T. hawaiiensis and S. dorsalis are the main thrips species pests of mango panicles in Penang. Direct control with insecticides focusing on these two species may help to reduce cosmetic injuries and other damages on mango fruits.
Misotermes mindeni Disney and Neoh is a solitary endoparasitoid of Macrotermes gilvus (Hagen) (Termitidae: Macrotermitinae), exclusively parasitizing the head of major soldiers. In this study, behavioral and morphological changes in the parasitized termite host were evaluated. We also observed the larval parasitoid emerging from the host. We found that parasitism mainly occurred in termite mounds overgrown with grass and mounds that had been broken up previously for other experiments. The parasitized soldiers showed a significantly lower level of interspecific aggressiveness compared with healthy soldiers (P < 0.05). Parasitized soldiers also changed in habitat preference to one isolated chamber of the nest. This might be an adaptive strategy that facilitates parasitoid dispersal, provides protection to parasitoids, and reduces the risk of parasitism to host colony. An abnormally rounded head capsule and remarkably short mandibles are characteristics of a parasitized soldier. The older larval fly stages were found only in major soldiers. We suggest that parasitization may first start in fourth or even earlier larval termite instars. The fly larva develops in the termite soldier's head capsule and pupates inside the host's body.
Morphological deformities in parts of the head capsule of Chironomus spp. larvae inhabiting three polluted rivers (Permatang Rawa [PRR], Pasir [PR], and Kilang Ubi [KUR]) in the Juru River Basin, northeastern peninsular Malaysia, were studied. Samples of the fourth-instar larvae at one location in each river were collected monthly from November 2007 to March 2008 and examined for deformities of the mentum, antenna, mandible, and epipharyngis. At each sample location, in situ measurements of water depth, river width, water pH, dissolved oxygen, and water temperature were made. Samples of river water and benthic sediments were also collected monthly from each larval sample location in each river and taken to the laboratory for appropriate analysis. Total suspended solids (TSSs), ammonium-N, nitrate-N, phosphate-P, chloride, sulfate, and aluminum content in water were analyzed. Total organic matter and nonresidual metals in the sediment samples were also analyzed. Among the three rivers, the highest mean deformity (47.17%) was recorded in larvae collected from KUR that received industrial discharges from surrounding garment and rubber factories, followed by PRR (33.71%) receiving primarily residues of fertilizers and pesticides from adjacent rice fields, and PR (30.34%) contaminated primarily by anthropogenic wastes from the surrounding residential areas. Among the various head capsule structures, deformity of the mentum was strongly reflective of environmental stress and amounted to 27.9, 20.87, and 30.19% in the PRR, PR, and KUR, respectively. Calculated Lenat's toxic score index satisfactorily explained the influence of prevailing environmental variables on the severity of mentum deformities. Redundancy analysis and forward selection selected TSSs, sediment Zn, Mn, Cu, and Ni, and water pH, dissolved oxygen, water temperature, total organic matter, nitrate-N, chloride, phosphate-P, ammonium-N, sulfate, and aluminum as parameters that significantly affected some proportion of deformities. The total deformities correlated closely with deformities of mentum but only weakly with deformities in other parts of head. The total deformity incidence was strongly correlated with high contents of sediment Mn and Ni. The mentum and epipharyngis deformities incidence was highly correlated with an increase of TSSs, total aluminum, and ammonium-N and a decrease in pH and dissolved oxygen.
Flight activities of two sympatric termite species, Macrotermes gilvus (Hagen) and Macrotermes carbonarius (Hagen), were studied in Penang Island, Malaysia. Herein, we present the first documentation of chronological reproductive isolation of M. gilvus and M. carbonarius. Flights of M. gilvus were recorded over a remarkably long 7-mo period from March to September, whereas swarming of M. carbonarius took place from November to January. Swarming events of M. gilvus and M. carbonarius occurred under atmospheric pressures of 1,005-1,011 and 1,006-1,010 hPa, respectively. Most flights of M. gilvus occurred on days with rain, whereas M. carbonarius avoided rain. Flight activity of M. gilvus was correlated significantly with atmospheric pressure and rainfall. The threshold temperature and relative humidity of M. gilvus flights were between 23 and 26 degrees C and 83 and 98% RH, respectively; M. carbonarius swarmed between 25 and 30 degrees C and 72 and 83% RH, respectively. The flight activity of M. gilvus concentrated in the warmer and humid months with a monthly total rainfall of 228 mm. Both species swarmed at distinct times of day during the limited field observations: Flights of M. gilvus began between 0300 and 0430 hours (light intensity <1 Lx), and flights of M. carbonarius lasted for only 4-10 min between 1900 and 1910 hours (at dusk; light intensity: 20-200 Lx). Windless conditions were preferred for the flights of both species.
Megaselia scalaris (Loew) (Diptera: Phoridae) provides great evidential value in estimating the postmortem interval (PMI) compared with other dipterans due to its common occurrence on human corpses both indoors and in concealed environments. Studies have focused on the effect of temperature, larval diet, and photoperiod on the development of the species; however, knowledge of M. scalaris development at different moisture levels is insufficient. This study aimed to investigate the effects of substrate moisture on the larval development time, pupal recovery, pupal weight, adult emergence, and adult head width of M. scalaris. The larvae were reared in five replicates on substrates with six moisture levels ranging from 50 to 90%. Larvae and puparia were sampled daily, and the collection time, number, and weight were recorded, measured, and then compared using multivariate analysis of variance with a post hoc least significant difference test. Larvae developed most quickly (3.75 ± 0.04 d) at 50% substrate moisture; the larvae were able to survive in extremely wet substrates (90% moisture), but the development time was significantly longer (6.48 ± 0.19 d). Moisture greatly influenced the pupation rate and adult emergence but showed a weak effect on the pupae weight and adult head width. Due to the significance of moisture on the development of M. scalaris, PMI estimation using M. scalaris with cadavers of different moisture content must be carefully conducted to avoid inaccuracy.
The previously identified female sex pheromone of cocoa pod borer, Conopomorpha cramerella, was re-evaluated for its attractive activity in different field conditions. It was found that lures containing 100-mug of synthetic sex pheromone blend, (E,Z,Z)- and (E,E,Z)-4,6,10-hexadecatrienyl acetates, and the corresponding alcohols in a ratio of 40:60:4:6 in a polyethylene vial attracted male C. cramerella moths in Sabah and peninsular Malaysia and in Sumatra and Sulawesi, Indonesia, suggesting that the same pheromone strain existed in a wide stretch of the Indo-Malayan archipelago. Of the three kinds of trap designs tested, the Delta traps were more effective than Pherocon V scale traps. Male captures were not significantly different among traps baited with 100-, 300-, or 1,000-mug doses of sex pheromone. A release rate study of pheromone formulation conducted in the laboratory showed that volatile active ingredients were desorbed from polyethylene vials following first-order kinetics, which indicates a satisfactory "half-life time" of a 100-mug loading is approximately 6 wk under laboratory conditions. A satisfactory attractiveness of the lure with a 100-mug loading was approximately 1-2 mo in the fields.
The male fruit fly attractants, cue-lure (CL) and raspberry ketone (RK), are important in pest management. These volatile phenylbutanoids occur in daciniphilous Bulbophyllum Thouar (Orchidaceae: Asparagales) orchids, along with zingerone (ZN) and anisyl acetone (AA). While these four compounds attract a similar range of species, their relative attractiveness to multiple species is unknown. We field tested these compounds in two fruit fly speciose locations in north Queensland, Australia (Lockhart and Cairns) for 8 wk. Of 16 species trapped in significant numbers, 14 were trapped with CL and RK, all in significantly greater numbers with CL traps than RK traps (at least in higher population locations). This included the pest species Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae) (CL catches ca. 5× > RK), Bactrocera neohumeralis (Hardy) (Diptera: Tephritidae) and Bactrocera bryoniae (Tryon) (Diptera: Tephritidae) (CL catches ca. 3× > RK), and Bactrocera frauenfeldi (Schiner) (Diptera: Tephritidae) (in Cairns-CL catches ca. 1.6× > RK). Seven species were trapped with AA, and all were also caught in CL and RK traps in significantly greater numbers, with the exception of B. frauenfeldi. For this species, catches were not statistically different with CL, RK, and AA in Lockhart, and RK and AA in Cairns. Seven species were trapped with ZN, two at this lure only, and the remainder also with CL or RK but in significantly greater numbers. This is the first quantitative comparison of the relative attractiveness of CL, RK, AA, and ZN against multiple species, and supports the long-held but untested assumption that CL is broadly more attractive lure than RK.