New Hebrides Coconut mite (Colomerus novahebridensis) present in Darwin, Northern Territory
Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 07:33
June 30, 2015, 7:33 a.m.
Colomerus novahabridensis - (COOMNO)
Present: only in some areas
Present only in Darwin, Northern Territory. The New Hebrides coconut mite is recorded from Vanuatu, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Philippines and East Timor, but not previously in Australia.
The Northern Territory reported that the mite (Colomerus novahebridensis Kiefer) was detected in the Darwin Botanic Gardens on 19 May 2008 by an international mite expert. It was initially misdiagnosed as the coconut rust mite Aceria guerreronis Kiefer. Mites and their damage were subsequently detected on several established Malayan yellow dwarf coconut trees and four other locations within a 5 to 6 km radius of the first site. It is very likely that the mites have also spread elsewhere within the Darwin area. The planting of coconuts in the Northern Territory is generally for aesthetic reasons and there is little or no production value except for the nursery trade (estimated at in excess of $40,000 annually) and for the collection of nuts for drinking by the tourist trade.
The mite lives beneath the perianth of fruits where it feeds on meristematic tissue leading to surface scars, reduced fruit growth causing premature fruit fall. In East Timor, where it may have caused damage since the early 1950s, yield losses are estimated to be 2-3% of copra production.
Contact for info
Chief Plant Protection Officer
Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601