Rich arthropod biodiversity and ecosystem services in rice fields of Myanmar – worthy of conservation and enhancement for pest management

by moni on July 27, 2011

by
Barrion, A.T., J Catindig, S Villareal, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines,
San San Win, NiNi Htain, Khine Nyunt Yee, Moe Thida, Aye Aye Mya, San San Lwin, Khin Aung, Zaw Lin, Myint Kyi, Myanmar Agricultural Service, Yangon, Myanmar

Arthropod collection devices: Sweep net (A), , pitfall trap (B), light trap (C) vial tapping (D) and yellow pan trap (E)

Myanmar used to be the world’s largest rice exporter and today is striving to return to the “glory” days. One of the most important lessons from the Green Revolution of the 1970s and 1980s was the backlashes from excessive fertilizer and insecticide use causing secondary pest problems, such as planthoppers to outbreak and create massive damages, yield instability and hardships to farmers.  Insecticide misuse has been on the rise in the last 5 years and repeat planthopper outbreaks are occurring in many parts of Asia particularly China, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.  Planthoppers are r strategists with high adaptive capacities in migration and surviving in new ephemeral environments.  They are monophagous and generally kept in low densities by regulatory ecosystem services such as pest invasion resistance and pest regulation.  As Myanmar plans to intensify rice production for export into the world rice market, there is need to take heed of the lessons and develop strategies to conserve ecosystem services in rice fields. Myanmar Agricultural Service (MAS) began introducing ecological engineering by holding a workshop to discuss concepts.

Rich spider biodiversity in rice ecosystems

To assess arthropod biodiversity and ecosystem services in rice fields we began by conducting a three day exploration to 3 sites in Yangon (North Dagon, Hmaw Bi and Hleguthis) in July 2011.  Using a variety of arthropod sampling devices, we collected 8947 arthropods. Initially analysis indicated that there are possibly 206 species belonging to 104 families under 16 orders. The abundance of aquatic arthropods was noticeable especially in North Dagon and Hmawbi where more than 70% of those caught in the light traps were the corixid bug, Micronecta quadristrigata Breddin (Hemiptera:Corixidae) followed by aquatic beetles—Hydrophilidae (Hydrophilus, Berosus and Sternolophus) and Dystiscidae (Eretes). Also notable was the diversity of spiders; 15 families dominated by 7 spp. of Araneidae (Cyclosa spp., Argiope & Neoscona), 7 spp. of Salticidae (Myrmarachne spp., Menemerus, Evarcha & Telamonia) and 6 spp. of Theridiidae (Theridion, Chrysso & Trigonobothrys ).  Surprisingly spiders belonging to the families Lycosidae, Tetragnathidae, Zodariidae, Uloboridae, were in low numbers, rather unlike other rice growing areas like the Philippines and Hainan Island.

Participants in the taxonomy training course

Twenty-three Myanmar scientists underwent a training course on taxonomy, arthropod collection, identification and preservation techniques to begin a reference biodiversity reference collection.  Further details of the biodiversity exploration and training are available in the Report.

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