Cocopest - Information portal for major pests and diseases of coconut
Cocopest - Information portal for major pests and diseases of coconut
Cocopest - Information portal for major pests and diseases of coconut
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Aceria guerreronis (Coconut mite)
The electron microscopy image of coconut mite, Aceria guerreronis. Source: Howard et al. 2001, CABI Publications. Photograph by Greg Erdos, University of Florida
General information
The coconut mite, Aceria guerreronis Keifer, is considered an important pest of coconuts which attacks young coconut fruits. Despite being small in size, i.e. largest length of 250 µm, high mites’ populations and extensive feeding can cause scarring and distortion of fruit. This eventually leads to premature fruit drop. The mites are likely to spread from palm to palm through air current or phoresy and crawl between nearby palms
Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Visible triangular white patch on the margin of the perianth can be observed as early damage symptoms
  • Damaged tissues of the infested fruits turn necrotic and corklike; sometimes with crack and gummy exudates
  • Infested area covers major part of the fruit
  • Uneven growth; distorted and stunted fruits
  • Reduced yield of copra
  • Premature fruit drop

Damage on nut caused by Aceria guerreronis (source: ©CABI BioScience/Dave Moore)

Detection and Inspection
Naked eye observation is not possible for the inspection of the mites. A 10x hand lens is helpful in viewing the colonies and individual populations. The colonies appear like silvery patches and the individuals are elongate, white and translucent with two pairs of legs.

Extensive damage can be observed through the scarring and distortion of nutlets. Binoculars can support with inspecting taller trees.

Taxonomic information
Category - Mite
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Arthropoda
Class - Arachnida
Family - Eriophyidae
Genus - Aceria
Species - guerreronis
Common Name - Coconut mite
Scientific Name - Aceria guerreronis
Tropical coconut growing countries recorded the incidence of A. guerreronis.

A. guerreronis was first reported in Mexico and subsequently there were records from other regions of the Americas; Anguilla, Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela. It is also reported in Africa; Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Mozambique, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Togo, Asia; India, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Europe; Hungary, Poland.

Prevention and Control
Chemical Control
  • Chinomethionate sparying onto bunches of developing fruits every 20 or 30 days.
  • Application of acaricides at 15-day intervals.
  • Susceptibility of pest infestation differs according to coconut varieties. A breeding program could provide long-term solution to this issue.
Biological Control
  • Hirsutella species-based mycoacaricides has the potential for control of the coconut mites at the field level.
  • Neoseiulus baraki and Hirsutella thompsonii are also considered as promising biological control agents on coconut in Sri Lanka
Cultural Control
  • Appropriate sanitation in the field.
  • Replacing old trees as required,
  • Application of balanced fertilizer
Plant Parts Affected
  1. Howard FW, Moore D, Giblin-Davis RM, Abad RG (2001) Insects on palms. CABI Publishing, Wallingford. Julia JF, Mariau D (1979) Nouvelles recherche´ en Coˆte d’Ivoire sur Eriophyes guerreronis K., acarien ravageur des noix du cocotier. Ole´agineux 34:181–189.
  2. CABI ISC, 2022. Aceria guerreronis (coconut mite) datasheet.
  3. F. W. Howard and Dave Moore, 2006. A Coconut Mite, Aceria guerreronis Keifer (Arachnida: Acari: Eriophyidae). Series of Featured Creatures from the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.
  4. Ponniah Rethinam and Muhartoyo, n.d. Coconut Mite, (Aceria guerreronis, Keifer) – Bibliography APCC Secretariat, Jakarta, Indonesia.
  5. Denise Navia, Manoel Guedes Correa Gondim Jr., Nayanie S. Aratchige, and Gilberto Jose´ de Moraes, 2012. A review of the status of the coconut mite, Aceria guerreronis (Acari: Eriophyidae), a major tropical mite pest. Exp Appl Acarol. DOI 10.1007/s10493-012-9634-x.
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