Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Risk analysis of Brevipalpus species (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) introduction via kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) imported to South Africa.

Abstract

International agricultural trade is a pathway by which pests and diseases can be transported and introduced to new areas. We examined South Africa's import of kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) as a pathway for the introduction of mites in the genus Brevipalpus (Acari: Tenuipalpidae). Kiwifruit is imported as fresh fruit and propagation material from various countries. This study aimed to analyse the risk posed by these mites associated with the importation of kiwifruit over a period of 11 years (2009-2019). The majority of mite interceptions were associated with fresh fruit (97%) mainly from Italy. Five mite species were recorded: Brevipalpus obovatus, B. chilensis, B. hondurani, B. lewisi and a new, undescribed species in genus Brevipalpus. The majority of specimens intercepted belonged to the new species. Any species not present in South Africa, particularly this Brevipalpus sp. nov., may pose a potential threat to South Africa's agricultural and horticultural industries and environment as well as biodiversity. The introduction of these species is a major phytosanitary concern because these polyphagous Brevipalpus spp. could find favourable conditions for their survival, development, reproduction and dispersal since South Africa is a country of diverse environmental conditions and various host plants.