An important element in developing a management strategy for a new pest is the study of its seasonal dynamics and within-plant distribution. Here, we studied the mite Calacarus flagelliseta Fletchmann, De Moraes & Barbosa on papaya, Papaya carica L. (Caricaceae), in Hawaii to quantify 1) patterns of seasonal abundance, 2) its distribution across different vertical strata of the papaya canopy, and 3) shifts in its use of the upper versus the lower surfaces of papaya leaves. Nondestructive sampling conducted in two papaya plantings revealed that 1) populations of C. flagelliseta peak during the summer; 2) mites are most abundant in the middle and lower strata of the plant canopy, and least abundant on the youngest leaves found in the upper canopy; and 3) mites are found more predominantly on the upper leaf surfaces when overall population density peaks, suggesting that individuals move from the lower to the upper leaf surfaces when food resources on the lower leaf surface have been exploited by conspecifics. These results have significant implications for the development of sampling plans for C. flagelliseta in papaya.
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Vol. 97 • No. 5