oa Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa - Destructive insects in the seed heads of Proteo borbigero Meisner (Proteaceae)

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0013-8789



A survey of insect infestation in seed heads in a large number of isolated communities of Protea barbigera Meisner (Proteaceae) in its natural mountain habitat, revealed that destructive insects were responsible for a reduction of up to 70% in the numbers of seeds per seed head during the normal period between flowering and maturation of the seed. Losses due to insects increased to nearly 100% if the seed heads remained on the plants for a longer period. In localities from which seed heads were harvested frequently, losses were 10% or less, pointing to regular harvesting and sanitation by removal of old seed heads as obvious aids to control of these pests in seed resources. The most important pest was the unidentified khaki moth, the larvae of which fed extensively in the seed heads. An unidentified curculionid, a cetoniid and the buprestid, Sphenoptera sinuosa Cast & Gory, contributed to seed destruction. The last-mentioned, together with the butterfly, Capys alphaeus (Cram.), and the moth, Cryptolechia ammopleura Meyer, inhibited seed production by destruction of shoot tips, flower buds and receptacles on which the seeds are formed.

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