Sampling strategies for assessing the overall density of the cassava green mite (Mononychellus tanajoa)

Research paper by Gösta Nachman, Henrik Skovgård, Jonna Tomkiewicz, Mikael Münster-Swendsen, Ole Carsten Pedersen

Indexed on: 01 Jan '93Published on: 01 Jan '93Published in: Experimental and Applied Acarology


Six different sampling methods to estimate the density of the cassava green mite, Mononychellus tanajoa, are categorized according to whether leaves or leaflets are used as secondary sampling units and whether the number of leaves on the sampled plants are enumerated, estimated from an independent plant sample, or not censused at all. In the last case, sampling can provide information only on the average number of mites per leaf and its variance, while information on stratum sizes is necessary to estimate the mean number of mites per plant as well. It is shown that leaflet-sampling is as reliable as leaf-sampling for the same number of sampling units. When stratum sizes are estimated from a separate plant sample, sampling time may also be reduced, but the estimated mean density and its variance may be biased if mite density and plant size are correlated. Sampling data show that the within-plant variance contributes relatively little to the overall variance of the population density estimates. It points at a sampling strategy in which the number of primary units (plants) is as large as possible at the expense of secondary units (leaflets) per plant. Mean-variance relationships may be applied to estimate sample variances and can be used even when only one leaflet is taken per plant per stratum. An unequal allocation of primary units among strata can increase precision, but the gain is small compared with an equal allocation. Leaf area can be predicted from the length of the longest leaflet and the number of leaflets.