Behaviour

Sminthurus viridis was introduced accidentally into Australia in the late 19th Century.  It was then transferred from Western Australia to South Africa in 1939.

It is present on leguminous crop plants such as clover and lucerne (hence ‘lucerne flea’) and can reduce crop yields by up to 50%.  

This springtail feeds from the base of the plant upwards, mainly on the epidermal and mesophyll cells, and leaves transparent patches on the leaf surface.  

There are no natural enemies of Sminthurus viridis in Australia so populations can reach much higher levels than in the UK, and therefore can be harmful to crops.

To control Sminthurus viridis organophosphate insecticides are used and in Australia, the predatory mite Neomolgus capillatus (Kramer) has also been used as a biological control method.

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