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Ould Ely S.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Bashir M.O.,ICIPE Field Station | Bashir M.O.,University of Khartoum | El-Amin S.E.-T.,University of Khartoum | Hassanali A.,Kenyatta University
Psyche | Year: 2011

The responses of adult solitarious desert locust to odors from a host plant were evaluated in a two-choice wind tunnel. Solitarious desert locusts collected from the field (Red Sea Coast) were more attracted to volatiles from potted Heliotropium ovalifolium in scotophase than in photophase. The attraction towards the host plant odors rather than to clean air, in both photophase and scotophase, concurs with previous observations on oviposition preferences near these plants. Diel behavioral activity patterns of adult solitarious desert locusts Schistocerca gregaria (Forskl) that were collected from the field in Port Sudan were investigated by monitoring, scanning, resting, taking off, and walking/running in a wind tunnel. Solitarious locusts that had been propagated in the laboratory for 20 generations were also observed for comparison. In both groups of locusts, insects were significantly more active after sunset and this activity attained peak level at 1-2 hours after dusk. Of the two groups, solitarious locusts collected from the field were significantly more active. In the scotophase, the former traversed distances that were about seven times those covered by laboratory-reared locusts. Overall, the results show that the repertoire of behavioral activities of solitarious locusts is maintained in laboratory-reared insects, albeit at a lower level. The implications of these observations in the behavioral ecology of the desert locust are discussed. © 2011 Sidi Ould Ely et al.


Atheimine M.O.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Bashir M.O.,University of Khartoum | Ely S.O.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Kane C.M.H.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Tropical Insect Science | Year: 2014

The effect of vegetation cover (millet) on the efficacy and conidial persistence of Metarhizium acridum (Driver & Milner) J.F. Bisch., Rehner & Humber was evaluated in semi-field conditions using breeding cages (2 × 2 × 1 m). A mixed population of third- and fourth-instar desert locust larvae, Schistocerca gregaria Forsskål, was used as a target. The insects were exposed in two different vegetation cover types classified as low (about 10%) and high (about 90%). Metarhizium acridum was used at a dose of 2.5 × 1012 conidia/ha in two different application volumes: 1 and 2l/ha. Untreated insects kept in contact with treated vegetation were monitored to evaluate the persistence of conidia. The results showed that vegetation cover did not significantly (F= 1.320; P= 0.334) affect the efficacy of M. acridum. Under the high vegetation cover, the increase in the applied volume rate to 2l/ha significantly improved the speed of mortality. Conidia persisted 6 days after treatment with a remarkable effect on untreated larvae exposed to the treated vegetation. In addition, the results of this study showed the efficacy of M. acridum in the low vegetation cover. With an important mass of vegetation, M. acridum conidia could persist even under high temperature conditions. © icipe 2014.


Blondin L.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Badisco L.,Catholic University of Leuven | Pages C.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Foucart A.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Applied Entomology | Year: 2013

The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) has been feared agricultural pest since early civilization, with plagues documented in ancient texts. Population genetic studies of the desert locust are needed to determine genetic variation and movement pattern for efficient control of the pest. In this study, we complemented the limited available microsatellite collection for the desert locust with 34 new polymorphic and multiplexed microsatellite loci. To this aim, we screened an expressed sequence tags library and constructed a partial genomic library enriched for dinucleotide repeats to develop high-throughput and high-quality genotyping assays. We then paid particular attention to quality control and carefully validated 26 of these novel microsatellites and six previously described loci for the absence of null alleles in Western African field populations. This large panel of high-quality microsatellite markers provides new opportunity to infer dispersal rates between populations of the desert locust and help prioritize early monitoring and control. Furthermore, high potential for cross-taxa utility of markers was observed within Schistocerca genus, which includes other locust pest species, with reliable amplification achieved for at least ten of loci per species. Microsatellite markers developed from transcriptome resources were largely devoid of null alleles and were conserved across species compared with those derived from traditional genomic libraries. Accordingly, the number of highly reliable microsatellite markers was greatly improved compared with that of previous studies on Orthopteran species, and this strategy might be broadly applied in other insect species prone to null alleles. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


Ould Etheimine M.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Kane C.M.H.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Ould Ely S.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Barry A.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Tropical Insect Science | Year: 2013

The storability of five new different formulations of Metarhizium acridum (two oil, one paste, one semi-solid and one powder) was investigated under ambient and low temperatures. Fourth-instar nymphs of the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria (Forskål) were used to evaluate their virulence. Under ambient conditions (23-38°C), all the formulations maintained acceptable viability (66.1 ± 2.30 to 71.8 ± 0.88% germination) after 6 months of storage. After 10 months, only conidia from the powder formulation remained viable. In contrast, samples of the formulations kept under low temperatures ( - 1.2 to 15°C) did not show significant loss of viability after 30 months of storage despite repeated power cuts, lasting sometimes several days. During this period, M. acridum conidia remained virulent to nymphs with 100% mortality 5 to 7 days after the treatment. These results show that all the formulations have greater stability when stored under low and even fluctuant temperature changes. Under ambient conditions, the formulations could remain effective for at least 6 months of storage. Copyright © icipe 2013.


Cisse S.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Cisse S.,Center National Of Lutte Contre Le Criquet Pelerin | Cisse S.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Cisse S.,Institute Agronomique et Veterinaire Hassan II | And 7 more authors.
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata | Year: 2015

For desert locusts, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskål) (Orthoptera: Acrididae), the hopper density threshold of gregarization remains poorly documented. Field sampling was carried out in traditional seasonal breeding areas of Mauritania during two successive years without invasion to approximate the gregarization threshold. Hopper densities were assessed at numerous sampling sites. Vegetation was also sampled to characterize the habitats. Hopper behavior was analyzed in situ with the help of a behavioral circular arena to test our assumptions on empirical locust phases determination based on physical appearance (coloration and behavior) following FAO guidelines. The results provided a critical density value around 2.45 hoppers m-2, above which gregarious hoppers were expected to be seen more frequently in nature. Hopper density was confirmed as the main factor explaining the presence of gregarious individuals. The level of involvement of vegetation parameters such as plant density, basal area, volume, distance between plants, greenness, or combinations of these indicators was low in explaining the observation of gregarious hoppers compared with hopper density. Vegetation cover and height were the only vegetation characteristics that could enhance the prediction of phase status with hopper density. The hoppers' phase determined from their behavior observed in the arena was similar to that characterized through FAO guidelines phase assessment, making consistent the field sampling method. Additionnally, the use of this arena illustrated that the grouping behavior of hoppers is a gradual response to density. This study can be seen as a step forward in the estimation of hopper density thresholds of gregarization in the field. This should improve the decision making for intervention during preventive control operations. © 2015 The Netherlands Entomological Society.


Cisse S.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Cisse S.,Center National Of Lutte Contre Le Criquet Pelerin | Cisse S.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Cisse S.,Institute Agronomique et Veterinaire Hassan II | And 8 more authors.
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata | Year: 2015

The behaviour of locusts has been studied extensively using two approaches: (1) analysing a single individual's response to a group stimulus or (2) using group conditions to look at aggregation patterns. The second approach has, in contrast with the first one, not been improved in terms of statistical analyses since the 1960s. In the present study, we propose a spatial statistics approach of point-pattern analysis to improve the group-based assessment of behavioural phase characterization. This diagnostic tool was developed and tested in the laboratory with comparative analysis of solitarious (isolation-reared) and gregarious (crowd-reared) desert locusts, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskål) (Orthoptera: Acrididae). The spatial distribution patterns of 10 either solitarious or gregarious third-instar hoppers were characterized with nearest neighbour distance measurements in a circular arena. The temporal sequence of spatial disposition of locusts was recorded with a digital camera taking photographs at regular intervals. The approach of point-pattern analysis focused on the spatial distribution of observed events and allowed us to make inferences about the underlying process that generated them. The results confirmed that our diagnostic tool could identify that crowd-reared hoppers tended to aggregate more to conspecifics than isolation-reared ones. We could also verify that isolation-reared hoppers were less active than crowd-reared ones, but this was only true at the beginning of the experiments. The spatial statistics approach proposed in the present study could help with observations of phase-related differences in the behaviour of locusts. © 2015 The Netherlands Entomological Society.


Cisse S.,Center National Of Lutte Contre Le Criquet Pelerin | Ghaout S.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Mazih A.,Institute Agronomique et Veterinaire Hassan II | Babah Ebbe M.A.O.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | And 2 more authors.
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata | Year: 2013

In the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskål) (Orthoptera: Acrididae), the threshold density inducing the gregarization phenomenon has never been determined under natural conditions. The influence of environmental factors on this phenomenon has been studied mostly in controlled environments. Based on data collected during several years by the survey teams of the National Center for Locust Control in Mauritania, we analyzed the influence of locust density, vegetation cover, and vegetation status on the probability of observing gregarious locusts. We assumed that a probability to observe gregarious locusts of 0.5 corresponded to the density threshold of gregarization. The results showed in detail the change in the threshold of gregarization according to the cover and status of the vegetation. Low cover and dry vegetation led to a low density threshold of gregarization probably due to high probability of individuals to touch each other. Dense and green vegetation favored a high threshold of gregarization probably due to a dispersion of the individuals and a low probability of individual encounters. These findings should help the management of locusts and decision making during control operations. © 2013 The Netherlands Entomological Society.


Piou C.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Lebourgeois V.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Benahi A.S.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Bonnal V.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | And 3 more authors.
Basic and Applied Ecology | Year: 2013

Locusts are grasshopper species that exhibit phase polyphenism resulting in the expression of gregarious behaviors that favor the development of large devastating bands and swarms. Desert locust preventative management aims to prevent crop damage by controlling populations before they can reach high densities and form mass migrating swarms. The areas of potential gregarization for Desert locust are large and need to be physically assessed by survey teams for efficient preventative management. An ongoing challenge is to be able to guide where prospection surveys should occur depending on local meteorological and vegetation conditions. In this study, we analyzed the relationship between historical prospection data of Desert locust observations from 2005 to 2009 and spatio-temporal statistics of a vegetation index gathered by remote-sensing with the help of multiple models of logistic regression. The vegetation index was a composite Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) given every 16 days and at 250. m spatial resolution (MOD13Q1 from MODIS satellite). The statistics extracted from this index were: (1) spatial means at different scales around the prospection point, (2) relative differences of NDVI variation through time before the prospection, and (3) large-scale summary of vegetation quantity. The multi-model framework showed that vegetation development a month and a half before the survey was amongst the best predictors of locust presence. Also, the local vegetation quantity was not enough to predict locust presence. Vegetation quantity on a scale of a few kilometers was a better predictor but varied non-linearly, reflecting specific biotope types that support Desert locust development. Using one of the best logistic regression models and NDVI data, we were able to derive a predictive model of probability of finding locusts in specific areas. This methodology should help in more efficiently focusing survey efforts on specific parts of the gregarization areas based on the predicted probability of locusts being present. © 2013 Gesellschaft für Ökologie.


Renier C.,Catholic University of Louvain | Waldner F.,Catholic University of Louvain | Jacques D.C.,Catholic University of Louvain | Babah Ebbe M.A.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | And 2 more authors.
Remote Sensing | Year: 2015

Desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) represent a major threat for agro-pastoral resources and food security over almost 30 million km2 from northern Africa to the Arabian peninsula and India. Given the differential food preferences of this insect pest and the extent and remoteness of the their distribution area, near-real-time remotely-sensed information on potential habitats support control operations by narrowing down field surveys to areas favorable for their development and prone to gregarization and outbreaks. The development of dynamic greenness maps, which detect the onset of photosynthetic vegetation, allowed national control centers to identify potential habitats to survey, as locusts prefer green and fresh vegetation. Their successful integration into the daily control operations led to a new need: the near-real-time identification of the onset of dryness, a synonym for the loss of habitat attractiveness, likely to be abandoned by locusts. The timely availability of this information would enable control centers to focus their surveys on areas more prone to gregarization, leading to more efficiency in the allocation of resources and in decision making. In this context, this work developed an original method to detect in near-real-time the onset of vegetation senescence. The design of the detection relies on the temporal behavior of two indices: the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, depending on the green vegetation, and the Normalized Difference Tillage Index, sensitive to both green and dry vegetation. The method is demonstrated in Mauritania, an ever-affected country, with 10-day MODIS mean composites for the years 2010 and 2011. The discrimination performance of three classes ("growth", "density reduction" and "drying") were analyzed for three classification methods: maximum likelihood (61.4% of overall accuracy), decision tree (71.5%) and support vector machine (72.3%). The classification accuracy is heterogeneous in both time and space and is affected by several factors, such as vegetation density, the north-south climatic gradient and the relief. Smoothing the vegetation time series resulted in an increase of the overall accuracy of about 5% at the expense of a loss in timeliness of ten days. To simulate near-real-time monitoring conditions, the decision tree was applied to the decade of 2010. Overall, the seasonal vegetation cycle appeared clear and consistent. The results obtained pave the way for an operational implementation of the senescence dynamic mapping and, consequently, to further strengthen the capacity of the locust control management. © 2015 by the authors.


Waldner F.,Catholic University of Louvain | Babah Ebbe M.A.,Center National Of Lutte Antiacridienne | Cressman K.,Desert Locust Information Service | Defourny P.,Catholic University of Louvain
ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information | Year: 2015

Desert locust swarms intermittently damage crops and pastures in sixty countries from Africa to western Asia, threatening the food security of 10% of the world's population. During the 20th century, desert locust control operations began organizing, and nowadays, they are coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which promotes a preventative strategy based on early warning and rapid response. This strategy implies a constant monitoring of the populations and of the ecological conditions favorable to their development. Satellite remote sensing can provide a near real-time monitoring of these conditions at the continental scale. Thus, the desert locust control community needs a reliable detection of green vegetation in arid and semi-arid areas as an indicator of potential desert locust habitat. To meet this need, a colorimetric transformation has been developed on both SPOT-VEGETATION and MODIS data to produce dynamic greenness maps. After their integration in the daily locust control activities, this research aimed at assessing those dynamic greenness maps from the producers' and the users' points of view. Eight confusion matrices and Pareto boundaries were derived from high resolution reference maps representative of the temporal and spatial diversity of Mauritanian habitats. The dynamic greenness maps were found to be accurate in summer breeding areas (F-score = 0.64-0.87), but accuracy dropped in winter breeding areas (F-score = 0.28-0.40). Accuracy is related to landscape fragmentation (R2 = 0.9): the current spatial resolution remains too coarse to resolve complex fragmented patterns and accounts for a substantial (60%) part of the error. The exploitation of PROBA-V 100-m images at the finest resolution (100-m) would enhance by 20% the vegetation detection in fragmented habitat. A survey revealed that end-users are satisfied with the product and find it fit for monitoring, thanks to an intuitive interpretation, leading to more efficiency. © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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