2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The galling moth Amblypalpis tamaricella is considered one of the best candidate agents for the control of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.). In Montana, the agent Diorhabda has not established, potentially due to high rates of predation by other organisms. The galling moth should be more resistant to predation as it spends much of its life inside the stem of saltcedar, where it damages branch growth. Successful rearing of the galling moth in confinement requires more research, as productivity (number of larvae or adults reared) has been low so far. In the USA quarantine, rearing has not yet been successful. The objective is to determine best rearing practices for this moth in confinement (which mimics conditions in USA quarantines) so that adequate numbers of moths can be utilized in host-specificity testing.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Moths will be collected at natural locations approximately 150-300 km away from the Kazakstan lab. New populations will also be identified and monitored in nearby western China. Tests will be conducted to determine the best method to develop moths to the next adult stage in both wild and confinement (laboratory) locations. Developed galls will be collected in the field and placed on new plants in both field and confinement conditions. Alternatively, recently emerged adults or eggs will be transferred to determine best transfer method. A weather monitor will be established at existing populations to correlate phenology with climatic data. Moths will be reared on both native saltcedar and accessions from the USA invasion. Main variables to be tested for rearing are temperature regime, humidity, size and age of host plant, amount of time that gall can be off tree, light regime, nectar source, number of moths and sex ratio for mating in confinement, size of confinement cage, etc.).
This project goal is to develop a new biological control agent for invasive saltcedar in the Northern USA. Contact with collaborator via email is at least monthly. An attempt to send Tamarix cuttings in April to support research on USA ecotypes with native insects in Kazakhstan was successful. These plants are being grown in Kazakstan and he will try to rear the insects on these plants. If successful, we will move forward toward understanding rearing conditions for the insect in USA quarantine.