Investigation of insect dynamics on flowering of Irvingia gabonensis trees in southern Nigeria: towards indigenous agroforestry tree crop development for food security
Irvingiaga bonensis (O’Rorke) Baill., is an indigenous fruit tree species of high economic importance in the forest zone of West and Central Africa. In Nigeria, it is known to have high potentials for contribution to the food security and viable food value chain. This study investigated the guilds of insect visitors to the tree species in southern Nigeria (Enugu and Ibadan) through use of fly traps for collection of insect specimens. Proper identification of the insects and determination of other parameters such as the number of days and time of visits across two sites were carried out based on observations. In addition, relative frequency of visits, across the tree crown strata were also compared. Analysis of variance on the various parameters showed that the number of days of visit and the three periods of the day were significantly different respectively at 5 % level of probability. The study also showed that there were homogenous insect populations in southern Nigeria, thus contributing information to the breeding potentials of the species. The insect order Hymenoptera appeared most prevalent of all insect order populations in this investigation. Pollinating agents, if known, will contribute to the breeder’s choice in carrying out trials on indigenous species like I. gabonensis, which is being recommended for further and improved cultivation trials towards adding to the food security and food value chain in Nigeria.
Keywords: Flowering, Irvingia gabonensis, indigenous economic tree, insect classification, visitation frequency