Current published records indicate that the red palm mite (RPM), Raoiella indica Hirst, has a much broader host range in the New World than in the Old World. Therefore, a series of studies were carried out in Kerala, India in 2009 and 2010 to elucidate the presence or absence of R. indica colonies on hosts in addition to coconut Cocos nucifera L., and betel-nut palm, Areca catechu L., the only previously reported host plants in India. We evaluated the following: RPM numbers on coconut and Musa spp. grown in Kerala; the presence of RPM on coconut and bananas grown as a mixed crop; and the possible presence of RPM on palms and other selected plant species mostly grown as ornamentals or reported to be hosts of the RPM in the NewWorld. Results showed that RPM was found in extremely low numbers on Musa spp., never clearly colonizing those plants. The pygmy date palm, Phoenix roebelenii O´Brien, was found to be an additional breeding host in Kerala, as multi-generational colonies were found on a plant of this species. Possible reasons for observed differences in RPM host ranges between the Old World and the New World are discussed.
Taylor, B.; Rahman, P.M.; Murphy, S.T.; Sudheendrakumar, V.V. Exploring the host range of the red palm mite (Raoiella indica) in Kerala, India. In: de Moraes, G.J. & Proctor, H. (eds) Acarology XIII: Proceedings of the International Congress, Zoosymposia (2011) 6: 86-92.