1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Collaborate with ARS to: develop mass rearing methods for the arundo scale; conduct field releases; investigate the biology and host range of the arundo leafminer, evaluate the field impact of the biological control agents for Arundo donax, giant reed.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Mass rearing of the arundo scale will be conducted at greenhouses and field plots at the South Farm in Weslaco, TX that is jointly operated with the Texas A&M University – Kingsville, Citrus Center. Field releases will be conducted in coordination with the Dept. of Homeland Security at multiple locations on the Rio Grande including Del Rio, Laredo and Los Indios, TX. Research on the biology of the leafminer will be conducted at the containment facility operated by USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST at Moore Airbase, Edinburg, TX. Evaluation of field impacts will include application remote sensing with spectroradiometry.
Arundo scale were imported from multiple locations in Mediterranean Europe for field release and to develop colonies for mass rearing. Several studies to improve techniques for mass rearing the scale were conducted by UTPA student interns mentored by collaborator. These research studies included: investigation of abiotic factors effecting mass rearing of the arundo scale, effect of micronutrients on size and rate of growth of the arundo scale, and the influence of chemical cues on mobile crawler scale. These studies showed that cool temperatures below 60F were optimal for settling of crawler scale on A. donax roots (rhizomes). Micronutrient studies showed that copper, manganese, and magnesium positively influenced growth of the scale. The study of chemical cues showed that the crawlers were attracted to the odors of fresh roots and were repelled by moisture. These studies have been implemented in the rearing system and have improved efficiency. Note: This project was formerly associated with the Weslaco project 6204-22000-022-00D, which expired.