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Abstract

In 2003 the chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis, which originated in southern Asia, was found to be established in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Now its current known distribution in the Greater Caribbean Region is Barbados, Florida, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Texas, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Venezuela and Suriname. It appears to be absent from the French West Indies, Guyana, Hispaniola and Costa Rica. In 1995 S. dorsalis was found on flowers in the baggage of a passenger from El Salvador to the USA, but there is no recent evidence to suggest that the pest is established in El Salvador or in any Central American country or in Cuba. In 2004, the pest was found attacking eggplant (Solanum melongena), pepper (Capsicum spp.), okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) and cucurbits in Trinidad. In the recent past the pest reached damaging levels on hot peppers in St. Lucia and St. Vincent, on carrot, sea island cotton, and sweet potato in Barbados, on mango in Puerto Rico and on roses in Texas and on numerous ornamental landscape plantings in Florida. It is still not an economic problem on vegetable and tropical fruit crops in Florida, although it was damaging in strawberry fields in 2006. In Texas, S. dorsalis is still being found on plants in retail garden centers and it has been detected on one residential property in the Houston area. Interceptions of S. dorsalis at US ports of entry have become infrequent. From January 2007 to June 2008, only three interceptions of S. dorsalis were made at US ports of entry, which indicates that the industry and regulatory officials in infested countries which export into the US market are taking effective actions. Recent advances on the biology and control of this pest are mentioned briefly.

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