Interactions With Other Organisms

 Sweet Potato Hornworm
Ipomoea batatas (Sweet potato) 020125-0031The Sweet Potato Hornworm, or Agrius cingulata, is the larva stage of the Pink-spotted Hawkmoth. Its larva stage can be described as a large voracious caterpillar that is more than cable of damaging every leaf off of one sweet potato plant. This organism loves to feed on sweet potato plants and other members of the Convolvulaceae family. It causes large irregular holes in the leaf blades and even sometimes leaves nothing but the petiole of the leaf behind. These caterpillars are variable in color from green to brown, occasionally yellow and are distinctly patterned. They have a posterior horn and reach about 9.5 centimeters.

Sweet Potato Weevilsweetpotato weevil, Cylas formicarius  (Coleoptera: Brentidae)
There is definitely a reason why "evil" is apart of "Weevil." Sweet potato weevils are arguable the most important sweet potato pests in the world. The species of weevils correlates with their location from Euscepes postfasciatus in South America to Cylas formicarius in Asia. Reported crop losses to this pest range from five to ninety-seven percent. The principle form of damage includes mining holes in the storage roots of Sweet potatoes. They have reddish-orange bodies and dark bluish heads and are about 1/4 of an inch long.

Sweet Potato Vine Borer
The scientific name of this sweet potato pest is Omphisa anastomasalis. Their name tells exactly what they do. The larvae stage of this organism has viscous chewing mouth parts that allow it to bore into the vines of sweet potatoes. Larvae are usually cream to light purple in color. How can you tell if a plant has these pests living inside its vines? The plant will have overall poor growth. Storage root formation is poor and will be smaller. Most plants will appear yellow and wilted.

Root Knot Nematode
root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp. ) on sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas )A few species of root knot nematodes include Meloidogyne incognita, Meloidogyne arenaria, Meloidogyne hapla, and Meloidogyne javanica.
These parasites do not only prefer sweet potato plants, but will certainly use them as a host if given the opportunity. Root Knot Nematode infection often is easy to identify because the swellings in roots that look like knots. Infections cause a growth decline in plants and in some cases lead to death. Other species under the Nematoda phylum are Ancylostoma duodenale, better known as the Hook Worm, and Wuchereria bancrofti.

For their nutrition, great taste, and some medicinal purposes, we humans love to eat sweet potatoes! How do people prepare sweet potatoes? Check out some sweet recipes!

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