Effect of mango weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) damage on mango seed viability in Hawaii.
The mango weevil, Cryptorhynchus (=Sternochetus) mangiferae, is a federally quarantined pest that prevents shipment of mangos from Hawaii into the continental United States. Although this monophagous weevil allegedly causes reduced seed germination, damage to the fruit pulp, and premature fruit drop in mangos, there are few studies examining these potential sources of crop loss. We conducted studies to assess the effect of mango weevil infestation on seed viability while making observations on the frequency of pulp feeding. Naturally infested seeds from mature fruits were planted in pots and scored for successful germination. Germination rates for infested seeds were equal to those of uninfested control seeds in a polyembryonic cultivar ('Common'), whereas germination was significantly reduced for infested seeds of a monoembryonic cultivar ('Haden') compared with uninfested control seeds but germination of infested seeds was still >70%. To assess seed tolerance of damage, seeds were artificially damaged by cutting away 25, 50, or 75% of the cotyledon before planting and scored for germination. None of the damage treatments was significantly different from the undamaged controls, indicating that mango seeds can withstand substantial damage and still germinate successfully. Over the 2-year period we conducted experiments, only four of 3602 mango fruits (0.11%) showed evidence of direct feeding damage to the pulp. Results suggest that C. mangiferae is a less serious pest of mangos than previously thought.