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Protocolo 3 - Palm Insects


Dr. Roberta de Melo Valente (UFPA) E-mail:

Protocol researchers:

East Pará - Dr. Roberta de Melo Valente

West Pará - Dr. Adenomar Neves de Carvalho (UFOPA)

Maranhão - Dr. José Manuel Macário Rebêlo

Groups of interest and diversity of species evaluated per grid:

Coleoptera-Curculionidae: 40 species.;

Hemiptera-Thaumastocoridae: 5 known species;

Chrysomelidae: 20 species.

Biological role of the taxa: The Curculionidae is a type of beetle known as a weevil or snout beetle, representative of the family with the highest species diversity among living things, around 60,000 known species around the world (WIBMER; O’BRIEN. 1986; MARVALDI; LANTERI, 2005). The majority of the species is relatively small (0.5 to 50 mm), living exclusively within plant matter (BONDAR, 1951; ANDERSON, 1993) and therefore playing an important role as pests (SILVA et al., 1968; O'MERA, 2001; ANDERSON, 2002) in the biological control of invasive weeds (ANDERSON, 1993) and principally for the pollination of plants, cited as a major pollinating agent for palm trees (GENTY et. al., 1986; GOTTSBERGER, 1988; SILBERBAUER-GOTTSBERGER, 1990; PRADA et al., 1998; HENDERSON et al., 2000; OLIVEIRA et. al., 2003; FRANZ; VALENTE, 2005).

The Chrysomelidae family consists exclusively of phytophagous beetles, mainly feeding on flowers and leaves. The beetles are varied in size (up to 12 mm) and have bright coloring (BORROR et al., 1989). Many species are known as agricultural pests due to their high defoliation capacity (STRONG et al., 1984). However, this species plays a very important natural environmental role in terms of the herbivory of the plant species to which the species is associated (MEDEIROS; VASCONCELOS-NETO, 1994). The association between Chrysomelidae and palm trees has been documented for many species, principally for the subfamily Hispinae (as well as the subfamily Cassidinae) (COSTA-LIMA,1955;

In South and Central America, the Thaumastocoridae has a total of seven species, all from the subfamily Xylastodoridinae (SLATER; BRAILOVSKY, 1983). This species is only collected from palm trees (SCHUH; SLATER, 1995; COUTURIER et al, 2002), whereas other types of species, from the same family, can be collected from Dicotyledons (SCHUH; SLATER, 1995). This group represents a Godwanan geographic distribution (America-Australia-India), in which the fossil record shows a wide level of distribution in warm areas around the planet (NEL et al, 2002). The study of Amazonian species will go a long way to contributing to the understanding of the systematic positioning and biography of the taxon.

Detailed collection technique: This analysis will be carried out on the inflorescences of the palm species of the Attalea Kunth, Syagrus Mart., Astrocaryum G. Mey and Oenocarpus Mart. genera, as well as other species, for the RAP (Rapid Assessment Program), in addition to providing comparison between the studied sites.

Sampling unit: An inflorescence.

Sampling design: The 30 plots (250 m x 40 m) of the grid (5 km x 5 km) will be studied for the Rapid Assessment Program (RAP). A single inflorescence (sample) of each species of palm will be collected within each plot in order to study the insects associated with it. This will result in a maximum of 30, or a minimum of 10, specimens being collected per grid for every species of palm and for each chosen genera (a number of studies utilizing the same protocol have shown that the species accumulation curve tends to reach a stabilization point of around ten inflorescences for most species of palms). Inflorescences will be separated out and sorted for collection in the event that there is more than one inflorescence of the same species of palm collected within the same plot (250 m x 40 m). When the minimum number of specimens (ten inflorescences) can not be collected during the first excursion, a second excursion will be required in order to achieve this minimum amount. In terms of the R.A.P. for each grid, one or two excursions of ten days, involving three collectors, will be organized.

Additional environmental data: Type of forest, climatic data (rainfall, temperature and relative humidity), position of the moon, geographic coordinates, palm tree phenology.

Method of preserving the collected material: The inflorescences in the field itself will be examined for the removal of organisms. A batch of a maximum of ten specimens of each target group species for each type of inflorescence will be mounted through the use of entomological pins and then labeled in the usual way for dry collections. The other batches will be kept in separate glass receptacles containing 70% alcohol, organized by specimen and target group and then labeled in the usual way for wet collections. Other types of insects will also be preserved per type of inflorescence, in wet medium. All specimen types will be identified using a stereo microscope. In addition to standard labeling, the following information will be added: the scientific name of the host palm; the specimen number; the plot number and the geographic coordinates. The specimens will be housed within MPEG collections.

Activities that could prejudice protocol development: Loading and setting out of traps with bait or poison near to the selected palm trees or in the palm tree itself, or chopping down or felling of palm trees close to the palms in question.


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