Open Access
How to translate text using browser tools
1 June 2011 First Report of Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) in Colombia
Daniel Carrillo, Denise Navia, Francisco Ferragut, Jorge E. Peña
Author Affiliations +

Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari: Tenuipalpidae), the red palm mite, is a phytophagous mite that recently invaded the Western Hemisphere. This mite was first detected in Martinique (Flechtmann & Etienne 2004) and it rapidly spread to multiple islands of the Caribbean [St. Lucia and Dominica (Kane et al. 2005), Guadeloupe and Saint Martin (Etienne & Flechtmann 2006), Puerto Rico and Culebra Island (Rodrigues et al. 2007), and Cuba (de la Torre et al. 2010) among other islands]. In 2007, the mite was found in West Palm Beach, Florida (FDACS 2007), and in the state of Sucre, Venezuela (Vásquez et al. 2008), and more recently, reported in the northern state of Roraima in Brazil (Marsaro Jr. et al. 2009), and Isla Mujeres and Cancun, Mexico (NAPPO 2009).

In January 2010, high populations of R. indica were found attacking coconut (Cocos nucifera L.), banana (Musa acuminata Colla) and heliconia (Heliconia sp.) plants in the Tayrona National Park located in the Colombian Caribbean littoral, near the city of Santa Marta, Magdalena. The presence of multigenerational colonies and exuvia was confirmed in 18 coconut palms, 4 heliconias and multiple banana plants located near the coast in the northern part of the park (11°18′44″N 73°56′04″W). In further surveys R. indica infestations were detected in commercial coconut and banana groves in June 2010 at Los Naranjos, Magdalena (11°17′49″N -73°53′49″W), approximately 6 km East of the Tayrona Park along the coast. In this locality the predatory mite Amblyseius largoensis Muma (Acari: Phytoseiidae) was found showing a conspicuous red coloration of the alimentary tract indicating recent feeding on R. indica. Previous studies indicated that populations of A. largoensis increased in numbers after the arrival of R. indica to Florida and some areas in the Neotropics (Peña et al. 2009; Carrillo et al. 2010).

Raoiella indica and A. largoensis specimens were collected (70% ethanol) and subsequently slide mounted, identified, and deposited in the collections of the Laboratory of Plant Quarantine reference collection, Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, Brasilia, Brazil, and the Laboratory of Acarology from the Instituto Agroforestal Mediterráneo, Universidad Politécnica of Valencia, Spain.

The experienced negative effects of R. indica on coconut production in the Caribbean, where yield reduction has been estimated in over 50% at some locations (CARDI 2010), indicate the importance of adopting regulatory and other control measures in areas of recent invasion. The establishment of chemical practices needed to allow movement of host plant material, and continuous surveying (pre and post-invasion) using sentinel sites, have been adopted to prevent R. indica's rapid dissemination in Florida (Roda et al. 2008). An integrated approach combining all available control tactics should be adopted and natural enemies identified for managing this species (Peña et al. 2009; Carrillo et al. 2010). In addition, studies are needed to determine the potential host plant range of R. indica in Colombia and the rest of the Neotropical region. Strict sanitary measures and other management tactics should be implemented to minimize the damage caused by R. indica in Colombia and other countries in South and Central America.


In January 2010, high populations of Raoiella indica were reported for the first time in Colombia attacking coconut, banana, and heliconia plants in the Tayrona National Park. The predatory mite, Amblyseius largoensis, was found associated with R. indica in Los Naranjos, Magdalena. Strict sanitary strategies and other management tactics should be implemented to minimize the damage caused by R. indica in the Americas.



CARDI (CARIBBEAN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH and DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE). 2010. Natural Resource Management, Invasive Species. 2010. Available via DIALOG (Accessed July 12, 2010). Google Scholar


D. Carrillo , J. E. Peña , M. A. Hoy , and J. H. Frank 2010. Development and Reproduction of Amblyseius largoensis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) feeding on pollen, Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae), and other micro-arthropods inhabiting coconuts in Florida, USA. Exp. Appl. Acarol. 52(2): 119–129. Google Scholar


P. E. De La Torre , A. Suáres , and A. Iris 2010. Presencia del acaro Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) en Cuba. Rev. Protección Veg. 25: 1–4. Google Scholar


J. Etienne , and C. H. W. Flechtmann 2006. First record of Raoiella indica (Hirst, 1924) (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) in Guadeloupe and Saint Martin, West Indies. Int. J. Acarol. 32: 331–332. Google Scholar


FDACS. 2007. Red palm mite infestation identified in palm gardens, In Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Available via DIALOG. (Accessed July 12 2010). Google Scholar


C. H. W. Flechtmann , and J. Etienne 2004. The red palm mite, Raoiella indica Hirst, a threat to palms in the Americas (Acari: Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae). Syst. Appl. Acarol. 9: 109–110. Google Scholar


E. C. Kane , R. Ochoa , G. Mathurin , and E. F. Erbe 2005. Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari: Tenuipalpidae): an island-hopping mite pest in the Caribbean. Available via DIALOG, (Accessed July 12, 2010). Google Scholar


A.L. Marsaro Jr., D. Navia, M. G. C. Gondim Jr., F.R. Silva , and G. J. De Moraes 2009. Chegou ao Brasil - o ácaro vermelho das palmeiras Raoiella indica. Cultivar, Hortaliças e Frutas, 57: 31. Google Scholar


NAPPO (NORTH AMERICAN PLANT PROTECTION ORGANIZATION). 2009. Detection of the red palm mite (Raoiella indica) in Cancun and Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Available via DIALOG: (Accessed December 30, 2010). Google Scholar


J. E. Peña , J. C. V. Rodrigues , A. Roda , D. Carrillo , and L. S. Osborne 2009. Predator-prey dynamics and strategies for control of the red palm mite (Raoiella indica) (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) in areas of invasion in the Neotropics. Proc. 2nd Meeting IOBC/ WPRS, Work Group Integrated Control of Plant Feeding Mites. Florence, Italy 9–12 March 2009, pp. 69–79. Google Scholar


A. Roda , A. Dowling , C. Welbourn , J. E. Peña , J. C. V. Rodrigues , M. A. Hoy , R. Ochoa , R. A. Duncan , and W. De Chi 2008. Red palm mite situation in the Caribbean and Florida. Proc. Carib. Food Crops Soc. 44(1): 80–87. Google Scholar


J. C. V. Rodrigues , R. Ochoa , and E. C. Kane 2007. First report of Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) and its damage to coconut palms in Puerto Rico and Culebra Island. Int. J. Acarol. 33: 3–5. Google Scholar


C. Vásquez , G. M. Quirós de G , O. Aponte , and D. M. F. Sandoval 2008. First report of Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) in South America. Neotrop. Entomol. 37: 739–740. Google Scholar
Daniel Carrillo, Denise Navia, Francisco Ferragut, and Jorge E. Peña "First Report of Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) in Colombia," Florida Entomologist 94(2), 370-371, (1 June 2011).
Published: 1 June 2011
Back to Top