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Trends in Entomology   Volumes    Volume 19 
Geographical distribution and host plants of Tropinota squalida subsp. pilosa (Coleoptera: Cetoniidae) in fruit orchards of central west Tunisia
Rasmi Soltani, Imen Hamdi
Pages: 103 - 111
Number of pages: 9
Trends in Entomology
Volume 19 

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During the last decade, Tropinota squalida ssp. pilosa has become a serious pest within the fruit orchards in central west Tunisia, particularly in the governorates of Kasserine, Kairouan and Sidi Bouzid, where this study was performed over four growing seasons (2014-2017). This work aims to determine the geographical distribution and host plant preferences of this beetle in these regions. The method of random sampling was applied to choose orchards. Inventory of host plants was done by direct observation and hand-picking of adult specimens on infested plants. Field surveys showed that the beetle is widespread and polyphagous, attacking the flowers of many fruit species. Attacks began on stone fruits like almond, peach and plum, and then extended to pomaceous fruits. In mid-spring, the beetle targeted spontaneous flowering plants within orchards. After fruit tree blooming, attacks continued on weed flowers. The beetle was found on over a dozen secondary host plant species. Most farmers considered the beetle a serious pest of flowers, though it may also act as a pollinator.
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