Arthropods of forestry and medical-veterinary importance in the Limarí basin (Coquimbo region, Chile)

Jaime Pizarro-Araya, Fermín M. Alfaro, Rodrigo A. Muñoz-Rivera, Juan E. Barriga-Tuñón, Luis Letelier


The Limarí River valley, located in the Coquimbo Region of Chile, is an important area for agricultural production that pertains to the transverse valleys ecoregion, known as Norte Chico. In recent decades, the continuous expansion of agriculture towards the dryland areas has favored the introduction and establishment of potential pests, such as arthropods, that may affect forestry crops and transmit zoonotic diseases. We analyzed the arthropod assemblages that were of forestry and medical-veterinary importance in the Limarí basin. After reviewing historical data, specimen collections, and the available literature, a total of 10 families, 39 genera, and 51 species of arthropods of forestry importance were recorded, 43.1% of which were of quarantine importance. Xylophagous groups of quarantine importance to the US included Cryptotermes brevis (Kalotermitidae), Neoterius mystax (Bostrichidae), Tyndaris planata (Buprestidae), Rhyephenes humeralis (Curculionidae) and Phoracantha recurva (Cerambycidae). Other quarantine insects of forestry importance recorded in the area included were Micrapate scabrata and Polycaon chilensis (Bostrichidae). In addition, the groups of medical-veterinary importance were represented by 11 families, 14 genera, and 18 species, 9 of which were arachnids and 9 were insects. Among the identified arachnids, the most important genera were Loxosceles (Sicariidae), Latrodectus, Steatoda (Theridiidae) and Rhipicephalus (Ixodidae), whereas among the identified insects, the most important were Triatoma and Mepraia (Reduviidae), Pediculus (Pediculidae), and Ceratophyllus (Ceratophyllidae). We hope this study serves as a basis for the development of forest pest monitoring and control programs as well as an understanding of the potential risks posed by zoonotic agents and their implications for public health.


Agricultural cropland, arid zones, arthropods, Limarí Valley, Norte Chico

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