Malaysian Applied Biology Journal

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Malays. Appl. Biol. (1999) 28(1&2): 19-24



1 Dept. of Biology 2Dept. of Plant Protection, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia


The level of convergence in within-plant distribution of an aphid, Aphis gossypii Glover, and its coccinellid (ladybird beetle) predator, Menochilus sexmaculatus Fabricius, on chilli plants is assessed spatially and temporally by a relative contrast analysis. Proportion of infestation at each mainstem node (MSN) of the plant is contrasted between the aphid pest and its predator. On each plant the total proportion of infestation of aphid and coccinellid each equals unity (one). Confounding effect of other predators is avoided by analysing plants that carried only aphid and coccinellid. Sampling was conducted twice per week, with a total of 40 entire plants (1 plant as the unit sample) examined per week, for 13 weeks of the MC4 variety chilli crop season. At each MSN a large leaf subsample was selected at random as a subsample. A total of 5200 raw data points and 160 pooled proportional data entries at each MSN were obtained. Such a large data set ensures conformity to the Central Limit Theorem. The differences in proportion between aphid and coccinellid at the MSN were also subjected to an exploratory data analysis to ensure normality of residuals and homogeneity of variances, thus further justifying the ensuing parametric analysis. These differences were then compared using paired t test, with zero difference as the null hypothesis for a perfect convergence. Results obtained indicated a very high level of convergence throughout a plant for the entire chilli crop season. This further vindicates M. sexmaculatus as an effective predator of A. gossypii. The relative contrast technique and the information obtained are useful for planning biocontrol strategy within the context of integrated pest management (IPM).

Key words: Insecta, aphid, coccinellid, distribution, predation.


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