Emerging Threat: Thrips Parvispinus and Its Impact on Horticultural Crops

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February 6, 2024

Emerging Threat: Thrips Parvispinus and Its Impact on Horticultural Crops

• The Union Agriculture Minister recently addressed concerns in the Rajya Sabha regarding the emergence of Thrips Parvispinus as a potential threat in the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh regions. This invasive pest species poses a significant risk to agriculture, particularly in its ability to potentially supplant the native chilli thrips, known as scirtothrips dorsalis.
Overview of Thrips Parvispinus:
• Thrips Parvispinus is identified as an invasive pest species with a wide-ranging appetite, making it polyphagous and adaptable to various hosts. Apart from chillies, it can thrive on alternate hosts such as drumstick, pigeon pea, chickpea, papaya, mango, and several weed species. Its presence has been noted in countries like Thailand, Australia, and Europe, and over the past two decades, its distribution has expanded dramatically to include regions like France, Greece, Hawaii, and others. In India, Thrips Parvispinus was initially spotted on papaya in Bengaluru in 2015.
Characteristics and Impact:
• This pest primarily colonizes flowers and the underside of leaves in its adult stage, while its larvae feed on the undersurface of leaves by sucking sap. Infestation by Thrips Parvispinus results in severe flower drop, leading to reduced fruit production, particularly exacerbated during heavy rainfall associated with the North East monsoon. Such infestations pose significant economic challenges, as they not only affect crop yield but also serve as vectors for plant viruses, compounding losses in horticultural crops.
Understanding Thrips:
• Thrips, in general, are notorious as sucking pests capable of causing substantial economic damage to various horticultural crops. Their impact is not limited to direct feeding damage but also extends to their role as vectors of plant viruses. The outbreak of thrips infestations in different regions is attributed to shifts in crop production patterns, pesticide usage, and the influence of climate change.
• The emergence of Thrips Parvispinus as an invasive pest species underscores the ongoing challenges faced by agricultural stakeholders. Its ability to proliferate across various hosts and geographical regions poses a considerable threat to crop productivity and warrants proactive measures for monitoring, management, and research to mitigate its impact on horticultural sectors, particularly in vulnerable regions like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

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Emerging Threat: Thrips Parvispinus and Its Impact on Horticultural Crops | Vaid ICS Institute