Insects Observed On Cowpea Flowers In Three Districts In The Central Region Of Ghana|
Globally, it has been estimated that more than 100,000 species of wild plants depend on insects for pollination and reproduction. In Africa, and for that matter Ghana, not much is known about crop pollinators, especially legumes such as cowpea. In Ghana, little is known about even insects that visit the cowpea flowers. However, if the insects that visit the cowpea flowers are known it would serve as a platform to investigate insects that can possibly cause pollination in cowpea. Hence, this study was undertaken to verify the types of insects that visit cowpea flowers in three districts in the Central Region of Ghana. As a result, insects that visited cowpea flowers on surveyed, and the researcher’s own established farms were observed on the petals, tip of the stigma and inside the flowers. Samples of insects collected were identified. Also, percentage frequency of occurrence of the insects on the various parts of the flowers was determined. Differences between total frequencies were determined using chi square (χ2) analysis. The main insects observed on the cowpea flowers were bees such as Apis mellifera, Ceratina sp, Megachile sp, Xylocopa calens, Xylocopa imitator, Braussepis sp., .Lipotriches sp., Melecta sp and Amegilla sp. and other insects, such as thrips, flies, butterflies / moths, beetles, and Dysdercus sp. Thrips were the insects most often observed on the cowpea flowers in the surveyed farms, followed by flies or dipterans, Lasioglossium sp and butterflies/moths. From the researcher’s own established farm, during the minor rainy season, the most active insect observed on the tip of stigmas of the flowers was Megachile sp whilst thrips, butterflies / moths, Lasioglossum sp. and flies were active on the petals of the flowers. The differences between the total frequencies were highly significant (χ2 = 154.61; P = 0.001). Indications are that Ceratina is most likely to be cowpea flower pest rather than a pollinator. However, further research into the role of Ceratina on cowpea flowers is recommended.
Cowpea, flower visitor, pollination, insect, pest