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New Zealand Plant Protection 62 (2009): 86-91

Small flower-visiting arthropods in New Zealand pak choi fields

B.G. Howlett, M.K. Walker, J.A. McCallum and D.A.J. Teulon

ABSTRACT

Flower-visiting small arthropods (body length <3 mm) that may vector pollen can be carried via air currents over long distances. Therefore, assessing their diversity, abundance and distribution within crops is an important step in determining their role in the transfer of pollen between crops and weeds leading to crop contamination. A window trap survey of eight flowering pak choi field trials in the North and South Islands of New Zealand demonstrated that small arthropods, particularly flies and thrips, were highly abundant within all fields, greatly dominating arthropod counts. However, the relative abundance of different taxa could vary substantially. For example, Drosophilidae individuals represented 65.5% of total arthropod individuals counted in a Pukekohe field and only 7.0% in a Hastings field. The large representation of small arthropods within flowering fields across New Zealand warrants further investigation of their contribution to pollination and pollen flow.

Keywords: flower visitors, Diptera, Thysanoptera, seed purity, pollen flow, pollination, New Zealand, Brassica, wind.

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