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Coconut rhinoceros beetle in Solomon Islands: a tale of two invasions

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posted on 2023-04-26, 20:05 authored by Sean MarshallSean Marshall, Sulav PaudelSulav Paudel, Sarah MansfieldSarah Mansfield, Nicky RichardsNicky Richards, Francis Tsatsia, Crispus Fanai, Gideon Suda, Trevor Jackson

Coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros; CRB) was discovered in 2015 in a small outbreak in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. This was the first record of CRB from Solomon Islands and a response plan was prepared. An awareness programme was launched and where CRB sightings were confirmed, delimitation surveys were carried out. Following the launch of the awareness programme, later in 2015, CRB was also reported from the Shortland Islands in the Western Province. Other islands were surveyed from 2015 to 2020. If CRB presence was confirmed, beetles were collected and analysed for haplotype and presence of the classical biological control agent, Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus (OrNV). A distribution map and timeline of invasion were developed. The initial populations belonged to two distinct haplotypes: CRB-G (clade IA) in Honiara and CRB-S (clade II) in Shortland Islands. Despite control measures, by 2020 CRB-G had spread to islands in eight provinces and CRB-S had spread to islands in seven provinces. CRB-S and CRB-G co-occur in Guadalcanal and Malaita provinces. In 2019, OrNV was detected from field collected CRB from Guadalcanal and has since spread to Malaita Island. In both cases the virus was detected where CRB-G and CRB-S co-occur. Other outbreak areas in Solomon Islands remain OrNV-free. The two haplotypes appear to have spread following patterns of air and sea movement between the point of origin (CRB-G from Honiara and CRB-S from the Shortland Islands) to other islands/provinces. 


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Springer Nature

Journal title

Biological Invasions



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