Insects and spiders in West African Rice

The proper identification of insect pests, and their associated natural enemies, is an important component in developing a holistic system for managing rice insect pests. To help national rice research programs in 17 West African countries identify specimens in their rice insect collections, a comprehensive collection program began during the period 1990-1995 to establish a rice insect and natural enemy collection at WARDA, the Africa Rice Center.

This is the only key that includes all the major insect orders and selected spiders in the West African rice ecosystem. The key to orders consists of ten insect orders: Lepidoptera, Diptera, Odonata, Dermaptera, Strepsiptera, Orthoptera, Mantodea, Coleoptera, Hemiptera and Hymenoptera, and the spider order, Araneae. The keys include both rice pests and their natural enemies. The illustrations are based on adult specimens. Three other keys of economically important rice insects in West Africa- stem borers, leafhoppers and planthoppers and gall midges are availabl e: Meijerman and Ulenberg (1996) made an excellent contribution to the identification of African stem borer larvae from the families Pyralidae and Noctuidae, while Wilson and Claridge (1991) dealt with leafhoppers and planthoppers, and Harris and Gagne (1982) studied the gall midges. Polaszek (1992) treated the parasitoids of cereal stem borers, including the rice stem borers.

As the published book is now out-of-print, the insect and spider keys are no longer available in a published, hard-copy version. However, a recent upgrade of the software product, the Lucid Builder, for constructing interactive Matrix keys, now includes a program for building dichotomous or pathway keys, as well as providing a facility to convert existing, paper-based dichotomous keys to interactive, online keys. Using this software, all the keys published in the 2004 book have now been converted to digital keys and made freely available online, courtesy of the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS).