MASS-REARING OF BROAD MITE, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks)(Tarsonemidae, Acari), ON ALUGBATI, Basella rubra L. (Basellaceae), WITH NOTES ON ITS FEEDING DAMAGE, DEVELOPMENT AND POPULATION GROWTH
Alugbati, Basella rubra L., and several reported host plants of the broad mite were evaluated initially for use as feed in the laboratory. Only alugbati supported active growth of the broad mites while seedlings of castor (Ricinus communis L.), eggplant [Solanum melongena (L.) (Walp.)], pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) and stringbeans (Vigna unguiculata L.) became etiolated inside the laboratory and did not sustain active growth and development of the pest. The leaves of alugbati shoot terminals are softer, more succulent and would last longer under laboratory conditions because roots develop under water, keeping them fresh longer. A laboratory mass- rearing technique developed for Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks) on alugbati is presented. The technique makes use of alugbati shoots for oviposition and feeding, glass containers for holding the alugbati, and tap water to keep the host materials fresh. A total of 1573 eggs, larvae, deutonymps and adults of P. latus was produced after a week of rearing on alugbati from an initial total population of 603. Alugbati shoot remains attractive for oviposition and feeding of the broad mites for about 10 days and needs to be replaced for continuous rearing and production of the mites. Alugbati is now included as additional host plant of P. latus, together with saluyot (Corchorus olitorius L.), cholesterol plant (Gynura nepalensis DC), and castor.
Key words: broad mite, tarsonemid mite, alugbati, mass-rearing
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