Spatial patterns of leprosis and its mite vector in commercial citrus groves in Brazil

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In order to describe the dissemination of Citrus leprosis virus (CiLV) and Brevipalpus phoenicis, the Tenuipalpidae mite which transmits it, as well as to generate data for future development of better sampling and disease control procedures, analyses were conducted at three levels of spatial hierarchy. Over 100 distribution maps of mite-infested plants and plants with CiLV symptoms were constructed after evaluation of 174 sweet orange commercial grove blocks from four citrus regions of São Paulo State, Brazil. Spatial correlation between maps of mite-infested plants and those with CiLV symptoms was very low and mostly not significant. Spatial dependency between adjacent plants was incipient as ordinary runs analysis showed that percentages of aggregated sequences within or across rows were very low for both mite-infested and diseased plants. Index of dispersion (D) values for all quadrat sizes suggested aggregation of plants with symptoms within quadrats, but much less aggregation for mite-infested plants. Values of log(A) and b were higher than 0 and 1, respectively, indicating a general and significant aggregation of infested/diseased plants inside quadrats. However, the degree of aggregation of plants with symptoms was higher than that of infested plants. Aggregation in each grove was positively correlated to the incidence of infested/diseased plants. Spatial autocorrelation also showed a higher strength of aggregation for plants with symptoms than for infested ones. This is the first time that spatial patterns of leprosis and B. phoenicis have been described.

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