Local crop planting systems enhance insecticide-mediated displacement of two invasive leafminer fly.
Liriomyza sativae and L. trifolii are highly invasive leafminer pests of vegetable crops that have invaded southern China in recent years. Liriomyza sativae was the first of these species to invade China, but it is now being displaced by L. trifolii. The rate and extent of this displacement vary across southern China. In Hainan, monocultures of highly valuable cowpea are planted and treated extensively with insecticides in attempts to control leafminer damage. In Guangdong, cowpea fields are interspersed with other less valuable crops, such as towel gourd (Luffa cylindrica), which receive significantly fewer insecticide applications than cowpea. To determine how differences in cropping systems influence the Liriomyza species composition, we conducted field trials in 2011 and 2012 in Guangdong where both species were present. We replicated conditions in Hainan by planting cowpea monocultures that were isolated from other agricultural fields, and we replicated conditions in Guangdong by planting cowpea in a mixed crop environment with towel gourd planted in neighboring plots. We then compared leafminer populations in cowpea treated with the insecticide avermectin and untreated cowpea. We also monitored leafminer populations in the untreated towel gourd. Untreated cowpea and towel gourd had comparatively low proportions of L. trifolii, which remained relatively stable over the course of each season. Avermectin applications led to increases in the proportions of L. trifolii, and after three weekly applications populations were >95% L. trifolii in both crop systems. However, the rate of change and persistence of L. trifolii in the mixed crop system were less than in the monocrop. These results indicate that L. trifolii is much less susceptible to avermectin than is L. sativae. Further, L. sativae was able to persist in the untreated towel gourd, which probably enabled it to recolonize treated cowpea.