The red palm mite, Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari: Tenuipalpidae), is a pest widely distributed in tropical regions of the world, responsible for losses exceeding 50% in coconut crops. The use of natural enemies to reduce the population of this mite has been considered a promising alternative. The objective of this project is to compare the efficiency of predatory mites of R. indica found in northeastern Brazil and Thailand, with those commonly found in Roraima, in order to select control agents able to maintain the pest at low levels in the country. To facilitate the identification of the phytoseiids predatory mites that will be found in Thailand, will be prepared a dichotomous key with the species already reported in that country. During one year, will be conducted a study of population dynamics of R. indica and their natural enemies on coconut in Thailand. In laboratory, will be estimated the level of acceptance of the pest as prey by the main predators found, in order to select two species to be sent to Brazil for comparative studies. Sporadic expeditions will be made in Malaysia and Indonesia, to determine the main predatory mites associated with R. indica in those countries. In Brazil also will be estimated the level of acceptance of the pest as prey by native predators, in order to select the two promising species from northeast. The preparation of life tables will assist in the selection of three species (1 from Thailand, 1 from northeast and 1 from Roraima) that will be evaluated in semi-field condition. It is expected that by the end of this work is selected at least one effective predatory mite for biological control of R. indica in Brazil.
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