Biocontrol Science and Technology (2004) 14, 499-511

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Tim A. Heard and Rieks D. Van Klinken (2004)
Rapid preliminary characterisation of host specificity of leaf-beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)
Biocontrol Science and Technology 14 (5), 499-511
Abstract: Rapid characterisation of host specificity is important both in biological control of weeds and studies in ecology and evolution. A means for doing this was developed and tested on four species of leaf beetles of interest for biological control of the weed Mimosa pigra (Mimosaceae). We identified the most promising for the more detailed tests necessary to obtain release approval. The impact of time-dependent effects and effects of experience were also investigated as part of this study but were not detected. Short-term host specificity tests on adult feeding accurately predicted the results of longer term trials. The long-term trial showed that survival on a plant species depended on feeding on it. Hence short-term feeding trials can predict the longer term survival of adults on other plant species. Different feeding results were obtained in cut foliage versus entire plants but no consistent pattern was shown: of the two insect species tested, one species ate more of the cut material while the opposite was demonstrated for the second species. Species in order of priority for further consideration as biocontrol agents were Syphrea bibiana, Genaphthona sp., Syphrea sp. and Paria sp. The latter three species were probably not sufficiently specific for release. The tests done here allow the identification of the most likely species upon which to conduct the more laborious and difficult larval developmental tests, saving considerable resources.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Tim A. Heard, Rieks Dekker van Klinken

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
non-target effects/fate in environm.

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Mimosa pigra (weed) Australia (NT+QLD)
Syphrea bibiana (weed bioagent) Mimosa pigra (weed)