Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The first report for the presence of Spiroplasma and Rickettsia in red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in Egypt.

Abstract

Purpose: The study of the Red Palm Weevil (RPW), Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier), as an invasive pest of palm trees. Methods: In this study, 36 RPW individuals were collected from 6 different locations in Egypt. The presences of endosymbionts in the RPW individuals were assayed. The phylogenetic analysis of the RPW inhabiting Egypt was conducted using Cytochrome c oxidase sub-unit 1 (CO1) gene. Results: Spiroplasma was found, for the first time, in all individuals, while Rickettsia was found, for the first time, in individuals collected from only 3 of the 6 locations. Endosymbionts harbouring Egyptian RPW were closely related to those harbouring Diptera and\or Trombidiformes associated with palm trees. This may be due to horizontal transmission through palm sap or through ectoparasites living on the RPW. Finally, the phylogenetic analysis of the RPW inhabiting Egypt was conducted. The collected individuals were closely related to Saudi Arabia specimens collected from the eastern region. Thus, Saudi Arabia may be the origin of the RPW which invaded Egypt. Individuals from populations inhabiting the same geographical locations were closely related. This may be due to secondary invasion incidents that may have taken place through transportation of infested date palm trees and offshoots from infected to uninfected locations. Conclusion: This study reports the first incidence for the presence and coexistence of Spiroplasma and Rickettsia in RPW collected from Egypt. In addition, it was found that the collected individuals of RPW were closely related to a Saudi haplotype. Thus, Saudi Arabia may be the origin of infection which invaded Egypt.