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.
More than 30 collections of the Arundo scale, Rhizaspidiotus donacis, and 5 collections of Arundo leafminer, Lasioptera donacis, were made in multiple locations in Spain, France, Italy, and Greece for shipment to quarantine facilities at Moore Airbase, Edinburg, TX. More than 2.5 million crawler scale were processed from these collections and released at field sites in Del Rio and Los Indios, TX, and into mass rearing facilities. The collaborator attended the Annual Arundo Biological Control Meeting in February 2011 and presented his findings on the association of the arundo leafminer and saprophytic fungi. Based on these findings, samples of the saprophytic fungi have been collected at multiple locations in Mediterranean Europe for molecular characterization to determine if the same fungal species is associated with the leafminer at all sites. The information from this research will be used in the release petition presented to regulatory authorities. Note: This project was formerly associated with the Weslaco project 6204-22000-022-00D, which expired.