December 2015. A note was sent by a moderator about the work of Bernhard Zelazny on Oryctes rhinoceros in the Philippines in the 1980s. He reported on a biotype with a tolerance to the baculovirus in the FAO Plant Protection Bulletin. The abstract is as follows:
B. Zelazny, A.R. Alfiler and A. Lolong (1989)
Possibility of resistance to a baculovirus in populations of the coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros)
FAO Plant Protection Bulletin37 (2), 77-82
Abstract:In the Indonesian provinces of North and South Sulawesi and East Java, in Southern Luzon (the Philippines) and in the Maldives, similar conditions exist for the development of populations of the coconut pest,Oryctes rhinoceros. Yet population levels can vary greatly, and there has been a negative correlation between the presence and prevalence of the baculovirus disease of Oryctes and the damage caused by this pest. In the Maldives the virus was completely absent and its introduction in 1984/85 reduced the O. rhinocerospopulation significantly. In East Java and South Sulawesi the disease was present but occurred rarely, raising the possibility of host resistance to the virus in these areas. Evidence for resistance to the virus disease was obtained from laboratory trials in the Philippines. Compared to earlier tests in Western Samoa, the response of O. rhinoceros adults to inoculations with the baculovirus was markedly lower. Furthermore, virus-infected adults transmitted the disease less often to healthy partners than previously observed with Samoan beetles. Trials with larvae showed no evidence for resistance but confirmed that baculovirus isolates can differ significantly in their virulence.
(The abstract has been supplied by the author or ISPI and is excluded from the Creative Commons licence.)
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Database assignments for author(s): Bernhard Zelazn
A member from PNG notes that if its true that the baculovirus-tolerant biotype was in the Philippines in the 1980s then this may explain why all the coconuts in the Port Moresby city area have lost their nuts but nowhere else in PNG. There are no coconuts trees in Port Moresby now producing nuts or with undamaged leaves.
Port Moresby has had twice weekly flights to Manila for years and in the last years a weekly service to Cebu. There is also a significant volume of trade between PNG and Philippines. It is therefore highly likely that incursions may have originated from the Philippines. How it could have arrived is any one’s guess.