Impact of Longhorn beetles on the growth and survival of prosopis juliflora in Bura irrigation scheme, Kenya
Kariuki, Gicheru Naftal
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Prosopis juliflora has been rated one of the world's top 100 unwanted species because of its invasive nature. In Kenya some of the negative effects of P. juliflora include invasion of farmlands, pastureland and water ways. The high cost and poor success of mechanical and chemical eradication techniques have led to the search of an appropriate biological control agent. In Kenya there is no known biological control agent for P. juliflora. However, casual observation in Bura showed Prosopis trees drying up as a result of beetle's infestation. This project therefore aimed at identifying the beetles feeding on the P. juliflora and assessing the extent of their damage. Beetle samples were collected from 365 trees and identified at National Museum of Kenya. Identification was achieved through morphological appearances and measurement of body parts such as pronotum, elytra length, antennal length and body length as compared to type specimens at Museum. The extent of damage on P. juliflora was assessed by correlating percent dryness observed in P. juliflora and estimated percent damage. Results showed that the beetles belonged to the longhorn beetles, 7aurotagus griseus. The beetles exerted significant damage on P. juliflora accounting for over 12.6% of Prosopis death in the study area. These results suggest that T. griseus can contribute significantly to the biological control of P. juliflora. However, further research is needed to determine the main factor(s) that influence T. griseus population dynamics, its host-seeking behavior and its effectiveness both in the lab and in the field.
- MST-Zoological Sciences