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Abstract

Lethal diseases of coconut palm in the Caribbean region include lethal yellowing (LY). hartrot (HR), redring (RR). budrot, and buttrot. Of these, LY is by far the most important. Lethal yellowing occurs in and to the north of Jamaica, in Florida and Texas, and from the Bahamas to Quintana Roo, Mexico. The common coconut cultivar of the Caribbean region, the 'Jamaica Tall' ('Atlantic Tall') is highly susceptible to LY. LY is associated with a mycoplasma-like organism which obligately infects the phleom of diseased palms, and is carried from palm to palm by the leafhopper Hyndus crudus. HR produces symptoms very similar to LY, but is associated with flagellated protozoa of the genus Phytomonas, which also are obligate phloem-inhabitors. HR occurs in South America, the southern islands of the Caribbean, and in Central America. The vector of HR is not known with certainty. RR occurs over the same range as HR and occurs with LY in the Yucatan peninsula. RR is caused by the nematode Radinaphelinchus cocophilus and its vector is the palm weevil. Budrot and buttrot, both caused by fungal invasions, annually cause minor losses in coconut palms throughout the region.

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