Native Range Collection and Evaluation of Candidate Biological Control Agents for Arundo donax
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this research is to make field collections of the candidate biological control agent of the invasive weed, giant reed, Arundo donax to be used in stateside research, and to conduct field host range studies of selected agents.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Field research on the host range and impact of the candidate agents will be done in the native range of A. donax and the candidate agents. Research in the native range allows for unique opportunities to evaluate the agents under field conditions similar to the Southwestern U.S. This information will be used to support TAG petitions for release of the agents. Field collections of agents will also be made to use in testing and/or release of the agents in the U.S.
Large collections were made of the arundo scale in 23 locations in Spain, France, Italy, and Greece for shipment to quarantine facilities at Moore Airbase, Edinburg, TX. The cooperator trained collaborators in Italy and Greece to make and ship these collections to U.S. containment facilities. From these shipments, more than 2.5 million crawler scale were processed and released at field sites in Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo, Rio Grande City, Mission, and Brownsville, TX, and into farm rearing facilities in Weslaco, TX. Field studies in Mediterranean Europe of the arundo leafminer, Lasioptera donacis, and its associated fungi revealed that these fungi are actually endophytes and that some New World populations of A. donax had the same endophyte complex as those found in Europe. Discovery of these endophytes in New World A. donax populations may make it easier to establish the leafminer if it is approved for release. The cooperator attended the Annual Arundo Biological Control Meeting in April 2013 and helped plan field research in Europe. A new effort will be initiated to rear the arundo leafminer in Europe to allow for host range testing of the agent.