Biocontrol Science and Technology (2013) 23, 409-422

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Susan A. Wright, Paul D. Pratt, Ted D. Center and Gary R. Buckingham (2013)
Physiological host range of two highly specialised mutualistic symbiotes: the fly Fergusonina turneri and its obligate nematode Fergusobia quinquenerviae, potential biocontrol agents of Melaleuca quinquenervia
Biocontrol Science and Technology 23 (4), 409-422
Abstract: In Australia, galls develop on Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T. Blake (Myrtaceae) as a result of the mutualistic association between the fly Fergusonina turneri Taylor (Diptera: Fergusoninidae) and its obligate nematode Fergusobia quinquenerviae Davies and Giblin-Davis (Tylenchida: Sphaerulariidae). The nematode induces gall formation, whereas the fly promotes gall maturation. Together they exploit M. quinquenervia buds and may inhibit stem elongation and flower formation. We delimited the physiological host range of this pair to determine their suitability as biological control agents of invasive M. quinquenervia populations in Florida, USA. Host use was assessed for eight species of Myrtaceae native to Florida, eight phylogenetically related ornamental species and oviposition alone on five non-myrtaceous species. Although oviposition was less specific, galls developed and matured only on M. quinquenervia. After establishment, galls are predicted to prevent flower and seed production, thereby reducing the regenerative potential of M. quinquenervia. This is the first example of an insect/nematode mutualism released as biological control agents of an invasive plant.
(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): Paul D. Pratt, Gary R. Buckingham, Ted D. Center

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.

Melaleuca quinquenervia (weed) U.S.A. (SE)
Fergusonina turneri (weed bioagent) Melaleuca quinquenervia (weed)