Host plant range of Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) in areas of invasion of the New World.
Raoiella indica has spread rapidly through the Neotropical region where the mite damages economically and ecologically important plants. Three studies were conducted to determine the host plant range of R. indica, using the presence of colonies containing all life stages as an indicator of reproductive suitability. Periodic surveys at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (Miami Dade County, FL, USA) and the Royal Botanical Gardens (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) identified 27 new reproductive host plants. The reproductive suitability of two dicotyledonous species and three native Florida palm species was examined. An updated list of reproductive host plants of R. indica is presented. All reported reproductive hosts (91 plant species) of R. indica are monocots from the orders Arecales (Arecaceae), Zingiberales (Heliconiaceae, Musaceae, Strelitziaceae, Zingiberaceae) and Pandanales (Pandanaceae). Most are palms of the family Arecaceae that originated in areas of the Eastern Hemisphere; about one fourth of the reported hosts are native to the New World and could be considered new host associations of R. indica. Six years after the initial detection in the Caribbean, R. indica has expanded its host plant range. Here we report 27 new reproductive host of R. indica that represent 30% of increase on previous host plant records. As this mite continues spreading in the Neotropical region a great diversity of plants is potentially affected.