Land Resources Division (LRD) Research in Focus: Read Researcher Mark Ero’s jointly authored journal article on the coconut rhinoceros beetle outbreak on Efate Island, Vanuatu

Dr. Mark Ero (right) captures Coconut Rhinoceros beetles with a biosecurity officer at beetle outbreak site in Vanuatu

The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division (LRD) has been working for seven years on the deadly coconut rhinoceros beetle’s spread in the Pacific through the Pacific Awareness and Response to the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (PARC) project.

In 2022, when Pacific countries re-opened after the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak, PARC project head Dr Mark Ero and his team once again were able to get on into the field in countries with outbreaks, as well as train Ministry officials and local communities on how to respond to outbreaks with surveillance, monitoring and management efforts. 

An outbreak on Ifira Island in March 2022 virus-resistant strain of the beetle led to PARC intervention, with the team collaborating with the Vanuatu Biosecurity and AgResearch NZ teams to carry out an awareness and management programme that covered pheromone trapping, use of biological control agents,  and destruction of potential breeding sites. 

Though some of these interventions were effective, beetle outbreaks continued to spread on the nearby main island of Efate  where Vanuatu’s capital city, Port Vila is located.

Dr Ero and his collaborating partners have just jointly published a paper on the Efate outbreak in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed journal EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization) bulletin. The article, entitled The coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) outbreak is well established on Efate, Vanuatu will add to SPC’s contribution to the growing body of knowledge on this deadly agricultural pest, and help inform future actions to control it.

The  open source article can be downloaded using the links below:

EPPO Bulletin, April 2023

Coconut rhinoceros beetle outbreak feature (direct)

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