Morphological and Molecular Identification of Weevil Pests on Avocado

Project: Research project

Project Details


Morphological and Molecular Identification of Weevil Pests on Avocado Morphological and Molecular Identification of Weevil Pests on Avocado Avocado is an extremely lucrative commodity with a multibillion-dollar value of fruit imported into the United Statesand a multimillion-dollar value of fruit grown in the United States for export. Several species of weevils are known to feedon avocado in Central and South America and represent a major threat to avocado production in the United States in theevent of accidental introduction. Four species of weevils that are known pests of avocado are of quarantine importance toAPHIS, three of which appear on the most recent Prioritized Offshore Pest List. The most damaging of these weevil pestscan cause a reduction in crop yield by 85% in left unmanaged, a result that would be catastrophic to the avocado industryin the United States and would thus require a significant investment of funds to keep under control if the pest specieswere to become established in avocado growing regions. It is therefore of major biosecurity concern to prevent unwantedintroductions of these species into the United States. Currently there is no single reference that enhances the detection capacity of intercepted avocado weevils andallows any life stage to be identified using molecular and morphological methods. Here we propose to create acomplementary suite of identification tools available through a single portal on These tools will provide widelyavailable resources to be used throughout the entire regulatory process, through detection, screening, identification, andverification. Inspectors, identifiers, and extension personnel will be able to accurately and quickly screen and identifyweevil pests and closely related species on avocado. These will be the first resources of its kind comprehensivelytargeting weevils (Curculionidae, excepting Scolytinae) of importance to a specific commodity made accessible forinspection and identifier personnel. Our project team will work with the APHIS-PPQ Identification Technology Program(ITP) to create these resources.
Effective start/end date6/15/216/14/23


  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA): $84,744.00


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