Journal of Insect Science (2010) 10 (209), 1-9

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F.R. Badenes-Pérez, M.A. Alfaro-Alpízar and M.T. Johnson (2010)
Diversity, ecology and herbivory of hairstreak butterflies (Theclinae) associated with the velvet tree, Miconia calvescens in Costa Rica
Journal of Insect Science 10 (208), 1-9
Abstract: Larvae of three species of hairstreak butterflies in the subfamily Theclinae (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) were found feeding on developing inflorescences, flower buds, and immature fruits of the velvet tree, Miconia calvescens DC. (Myrtales: Melastomataceae) in Costa Rica. Erora opisena (Druce), Parrhasius polibetes (Cramer), and Temecla paron (Godman and Salvin) were studied in association with M. calvescens, an uncommon tree in its natural range in the neotropics and a target for biocontrol as an invader in Pacific islands. Host plant use by the three theclines was similar, with eggs being laid on inflorescences and cryptic larvae remaining there throughout development. Feeding damage by E. opisena was most abundant in pre-flowering M. calvescens, when 23% of inflorescences showed feeding damage characteristic of this species. Feeding damage by T. paron peaked at flowering, when 30% of inflorescences were affected. At field sites, E. opisena and T. paron damaged an average of 26 and 18% of each attacked inflorescence, respectively. In cage experiments, individual third- and fourth-instar larvae of E. opisena damaged an average of 24 and 21% of an inflorescence before pupating, respectively. This study provides the first host plant record for E. opisena and T. paron, the first record of P. polibetes feeding on Melastomataceae, and the first records of E. opisena and T. paron presence in Costa Rica.
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Database assignments for author(s): Francisco R. Badenes-Perez, M. Tracy Johnson

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
general biology - morphology - evolution
surveys/distribution/isolation


Pest and/or beneficial records:

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


Miconia calvescens (weed) Costa Rica
Erora opisena (weed bioagent) Miconia calvescens (weed) Costa Rica
Temecla paron (weed bioagent) Miconia calvescens (weed) Costa Rica