Occurrence of Euwallacea sp. (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) and its ambrosia fungus Cunninghamella echinulata on Ricinus communis in Coffea canephora gardens in Uganda.
Euwallacea spp. (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) are polyphagous globally distributed invasive ambrosia beetles. One of the species was recently detected attacking Ricinus communis growing in Coffea canephora gardens in Uganda. This study was undertaken to: (a) determine the distribution, incidence, and relative abundance of Euwallacea sp. on R. communis in Uganda; (b) determine the influence of the presence of C. canephora on the incidence and abundance of Euwallacea sp. on R. communis; and (c) identify ambrosia fungus of Euwallacea sp. on R. communis. Five C. canephora farms with R. communis and five others with R. communis but without C. canephora were sampled in each of the six districts surveyed. Incidence of Euwallacea sp. on R. communis was measured, by inspecting the host trees in each farm for the presence or absence of the pest. Abundance of Euwallacea sp. on R. communis was estimated, by counting holes of Euwallacea sp. at the lower 1.7 m of R. communis stems. A fungus was isolated from galleries of Euwallacea sp. on R. communis and identified. Results show that Euwallacea sp. was present on R. communis in all districts surveyed, with 30-70% of the farms infested in each district and 5-28 holes of Euwallacea sp. found on each sampled stem of R. communis. Coffea canephora appeared to facilitate the infestation of R. communis by Euwallacea sp., although it did not seem to influence the multiplication of the insect inside the host. Cunninghamella echinulata appeared to be the ambrosia fungus associated with Euwallacea sp. Therefore, Euwallacea sp. is a threat to many economically important plants in Uganda that are known to be hosts of this pest.