African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6709

Full Length Research Paper

Assessing the host status of banana and other plant species to the enset root mealybug Paraputo ensete (Williams & Matile-Ferrero) (Hem.: Pseudococcidae) in Ethiopia

Fikadu Erenso
  • Fikadu Erenso
  • Department of Biology, College of Natural and Computational Science, P. O. Box 419, Dilla University, Dilla, Ethiopia.
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Guy Blomme
  • Guy Blomme
  • The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, c/o ILRI, Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, P. O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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Mitiku Muanenda
  • Mitiku Muanenda
  • Department of Biology, College of Natural and Computational Science, P. O. Box 419, Dilla University, Dilla, Ethiopia.
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Elizabeth Kearsley
  • Elizabeth Kearsley
  • BlueGreen Labs, Melsele, 9120, Belgium.
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Georg Goergen
  • Georg Goergen
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Biodiversity Centre, 08 BP 0932 Tri Postal, Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
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Temesgen Addis
  • Temesgen Addis
  • e-nema, Company for Biotechnology and Biological Control, Schwentinental, 24223, Germany.
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  •  Received: 08 September 2022
  •  Accepted: 25 October 2022
  •  Published: 31 December 2022

Abstract

Ninety backyard gardens in the south-eastern Ethiopian highlands with enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman), banana and various annual crops were assessed for the presence of enset root mealybugs (Paraputo ensete (Williams & Matile-Ferrero)). This study presents the first observation of enset root mealybugs on banana. This pest has until now been exclusively recorded on enset in Ethiopia. In the Dilla Zuria district of the Gedeo zone, southern Ethiopia, infested banana mats of the ‘Pisang Awak’ (ABB genome) landrace were observed adjacent to infested enset plants in three small-holder backyard gardens. As roots of banana mats and enset plants were overlapping and intertwined, and large numbers of mealybugs were observed on enset roots, possibly representing an overpopulation, the observed mealybugs on banana might have represented a “chance infestation". The smaller size of mealybugs on banana roots might indicate a non-optimal host status of this crop. Experimental choice and no-choice pot trials however provided another indication of the possible host potential of ‘Pisang Awak’ and of an additional banana cultivar ‘Matooke’ (AAA-East African Highland). The enset root mealybug was able to fully develop, produce viable offspring and survive on both banana cultivars. Not all investigated banana cultivars presented this host status, and the susceptibility of most Musa cultivars remains low.

Key words: Choice trials, corm, crawlers, enset suckers, field survey, Musa cultivars, no-choice trials, roots, screenhouse pot trials.