Environmental Entomology (2019) 48, 533-539

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Samantha A. Willden and Edward W. Evans (2019)
Summer development and survivorship of the weed biocontrol agent, Mecinus janthiniformis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), within stems of its host, Dalmatian Toadflax (Lamiales: Plantaginaceae), in Utah
Environmental Entomology 48 (3), 533-539
Abstract: The summer phenology and survivorship of the stem-mining weevil, Mecinus janthiniformis Tosevski and Caldara, a biocontrol agent of Dalmatian toadflax, Linaria dalmatica (L.) Miller, was studied in 2015–2016 as it developed within host plant stems at a low elevation, open rangeland site in northern Utah. Hatching from eggs in spring and early summer, weevils occurred as larvae within stems in June. Earliest maturing adults occurred in mid-July, and the majority of individuals had completed pupal development by early August. Survivorship within stems was high, with two-thirds or more of individuals surviving from egg hatch to adulthood as assessed in mid-September. Mortality rates within stems were highest during larval development, with parasitism accounting for the majority of deaths. At least three parasitoid species (Chalcidoidea: Pteromalidae and Eupelmidae), including both endoparasitoids and ectoparasitoids, were found attacking weevils within stems. Although most surviving weevils remained as adults within stems to overwinter, some adults were found to have chewed exit holes, and in some cases had exited from stems, beginning in July; the fate of these prematurely exiting adults is unknown. Low summer mortality rates within stems should promote weevil establishment under the hot, dry conditions of northern Utah, but parasitism and premature exiting of adults from host stems merit further investigation concerning their potential to reduce biocontrol efficacy. The results presented here for M. janthiniformis phenology within host stems will contribute to the development of standardized, summer monitoring for this biocontrol agent by stem dissection.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website


Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
general biology - morphology - evolution
population dynamics/epizootiology


Pest and/or beneficial records:

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


Linaria dalmatica (weed) Grasses/turf/rangeland U.S.A. (SW)
Mecinus janthiniformis (weed bioagent) Linaria dalmatica (weed) Grasses/turf/rangeland U.S.A. (SW)