Tightness of the perianth of coconuts in relation to infestation by coconut mites.
Aceria guerreronis is a pest of coconuts in many countries in the Americas and Africa. Damage occurs when mites congregate and feed on the meristematic tissue, an area of the coconut surface normally protected by the inner whorl of the perianth (which is made up from several tepals). Based on laboratory observations, the tightness of the perianth to the coconut was identified as a key factor in determining susceptibility or resistance to attack by A. guerreronis. Penetration tests showed that as the coconut grew, it became increasingly larger in proportion to the perianth, and in the variety of coconut studied (Golden Malayan Dwarf), spaces developed between the coconut surface and the perianth large enough to allow A. guerreronis to penetrate the fruit to the meristematic tissue.