Global food security requires increased crop productivity to meet escalating demand(1-3). Current food production systems are heavily dependent on synthetic inputs that threaten the environment and human well-being(2,4,5). Biodiversity, for instance, is key to the provision of ecosystem services such as pest control(6,7), but is eroded in conventional agricultural systems. Yet the conservation and reinstatement of biodiversity is challenging(5,8,9), and it remains unclear whether the promotion of biodiversity can reduce reliance on inputs without penalizing yields on a regional scale. Here we present results from multi-site field studies replicated in Thailand, China and Vietnam over a period of four years, in which we grew nectar-producing plants around rice fields, and monitored levels of pest infestation, insecticide use and yields. Compiling the data from all sites, we report that this inexpensive intervention significantly reduced populations of two key pests, reduced insecticide applications by 70%, increased grain yields by 5% and delivered an economic advantage of 7.5%. Additional field studies showed that predators and parasitoids of the main rice pests, together with detritivores, were more abundant in the presence of nectar-producing plants. We conclude that a simple diversification approach, in this case the growth of nectar-producing plants, can contribute to the ecological intensification of agricultural systems.
Aspects of the incidence and spread of the citrus disease huanglongbing (HLB) in relation to the vector Diaphorina citri population fluctuation were studied from January 1999 to December 2001 seasons in a 0.8 ha citrus orchard at Jemukan (1° 33'N, 110° 41'E), Southwest Sarawak in Malaysia. In relation to insecticide and horticultural mineral oils (HMOs) use, levels of HLB infection rose quite rapidly over the next 3 years in the unsprayed control and less rapidly in the other treatments such as imidacloprid, nC24HMO, and triazophos/cypermethrin/chlorpyrifos. Levels of HLB as determined by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) were 42.2%, 9.4%, 11.4%, and 22.7%, respectively. The effects of nC(24)HMO and conventional pesticides on the citrus psyllid population and parasitoids in citrus orchard were also determined.
A new gall-inducing genus and species of felt scales (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Eriococcidae) found on the leaves and twigs of Matayba guianensis (Sapindaceae) in Brazil is described: Bystracoccus Hodgson gen n. and B. mataybae Hodgson, Isaias & Oliveira sp. n. This is the first record of an eriococcid inducing leaf and stem galls on Sapindaceae and is only the second example of a member of the Eriococcidae to induce stem galls in which the insects diapause during the dry (winter) season. Only the adult female, second-instar female and crawler are known. The species overwinters as the first-instar nymph in pit galls on the twigs but spends the rest of the year associated with two-chambered galls on the leaves. It has recently become clear that South America has a rich felt-scale insect fauna many of which induce galls. It has proved very difficult to place this new genus in a family as it appears to fall between the Eriococcidae and Beesoniidae but is here placed in the eriococcids based on the similarity of the first-instar nymphs and the abundance of this family in the Neotropics. However, the dorsum of the abdomen of the mature adult female becomes heavily sclerotised, forming a round plug-like structure that completely fills the gall orifice. This structure shows remarkable morphological similarities to that of the beesoniid Danumococcus parashoreae Takagi & Hodgson found on Parashorea tomentella (Dipterocarpaceae) in Sabah, Malaysia, with which it is compared along with other eriococcid genera known from South America.
The amended diagnosis of the genus Pratylenchoides and list of its valid species with synonyms are given. All the efficient diagnostic characters are listed. Modern taxonomic standard for the description of Pratylenchoides species is proposed; it may be used also in taxonomic databases. Tabular and text keys for all species of the genus are given. Five following groups are considered within the genus Pratylenchoides. The group arenicola differs from other groups in the primitive adanal bursa type; the groups magnicauda, crenicauda, ritteri, and megalobatus differ from each other in the position of cardium along the body axis in relation to the pharyngeal gland nuclei, pharynx types are named according to the stages of its evolution from the primitive tylenchoid pharynx (cardium situated posteriorly) to the advanced hoplolaimoid one (cardium situated anteriorly). Diagnoses and species compositions of the groups are given. Basing on the matrix of species characters, the dendrogram has been generated for all species of Pratylenchoides and for all characters (UPGMA, distance, mean character difference, random, characters ordered). Taking in view that the PAUP software gives equal weights to all characters, including the most important ones which define the prognostic species groups, the separate dendrograms for each prognostic species group were generated using the same above mentioned tree parameters. On the base of the records of Pratylenchoides species the matrices of plant host ranges, geographic distribution, and preferred soil-climatic conditions were developed. The dendrograms of the faunal similarities were generated using these matrices, with conclusions on a possible origin and evolution of the genus. The genus evolved from the flood lands with swampy soils and prevalence of dicotyledons (herbaceous Lamiaceae and woody Salicaceae families) to the forest mainland communities with balanced humidity and predominance of herbaceous Poaceae and Fabaceae with woody Fagaceae, Betulaceae, and Oleaceae. The leading factor of the evolutional adaptation to soil-climatic conditions was the factor of humidity, but its significance gradually decreased with the host change to more advanced plant taxa adapted to the communities with more dry balanced humidity. The genus took its origin on the south shores of Laurasia in the Cainozoe. Later, when Hindistant and Arabian Peninsula joined with Laurasia creating the Himalayas barrier, the Pratylenchoides spp. distributed by two branches: the northern one moved into Central Asia, East Europe and North America, and the south branch came into Indo-Malaya, West Asia and the north of Africa. The remnants of the ancient species groups remain in West Europe and East Asia. In the North America the genus gave an origin to its sister genus Apratylenchoides, which spread to the south up to Antarctica; another advanced branch spread in the North America reaching Alaska.
Studies on hybridization, inheritance, and population genetics of brown planthoppers that infest rice and weeds were undertaken using starch gel electrophoresis to determine whether the weed-infesting population represents a biological race or a species. F(1) and F(2) generations were produced by crosses between parental insects from the two populations with little indication of hybrid sterility. Gpi, Mdh, and Idh loci were inherited in a simple Mendelian fashion in families of two sympatric populations. Sixteen populations of Nilaparvata spp. from eight locations were collected. The Mdh, Idh, Pgm, Gpi, 6Pgd, and Acp loci were polymorphic. The N. lugens of rice with high esterase activity were clustered into a group and characterized by the presence of alleles Gpi (110) and Gpi (120), whereas N. lugens from weeds with low esterase activity were clustered into another group and characterized by Gpi (100) and Gpi (90) . There was a lack of heterozygotes between the common alleles of the two populations. This means that the two groups of individuals belong to different gene pools.