The spatio—temporal distribution of Sahlbergella singularis Haglung, a major pest of cacao trees (Theobroma cacao) (Malvaceae), was studied for 2 yr in traditional cacao forest gardens in the humid forest area of southern Cameroon. The first objective was to analyze the dispersion of this insect on cacao trees. The second objective was to develop sampling plans based on fixed levels of precision for estimating S. singularis populations. The following models were used to analyze the data: Taylor's power law, Iwao's patchiness regression, the Nachman model, and the negative binomial distribution. Our results document that Taylor's power law was a better fit for the data than the Iwao and Nachman models. Taylor's b and Iwao's β were both significantly >1, indicating that S. singularis aggregated on specific trees. This result was further supported by the calculated common k of 1.75444. Iwao's α was significantly <0, indicating that the basic distribution component of S. singularis was the individual insect. Comparison of negative binomial (NBD) and Nachman models indicated that the NBD model was appropriate for studying S. singularis distribution. Optimal sample sizes for fixed precision levels of 0.10, 0.15, and 0.25 were estimated with Taylor's regression coefficients. Required sample sizes increased dramatically with increasing levels of precision. This is the first study on S. singularis dispersion in cacao plantations. Sampling plans, presented here, should be a tool for research on population dynamics and pest management decisions of mirid bugs on cacao.
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