1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Search for arthropods in Central Asia that can be used as biological control agents of Russian thistle and Scotch thistle, and evaluate their host plant specificity.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
1) conduct choice oviposition experiments on Lixus incanescens and Trichosirocalus briesei;
2) Start field host specificity evaluation of Larinus latus;
3) collect at least one beetle species from Russian thistle and start host specificity evaluations;
4) Search for new potential agents in Eurasia.
This research focused on Objective 2 of the parent project, identifying and testing new natural enemies of invasive weeds. Over the full duration of this project, exploration was conducted in the Mediterranean region for prospective biological control agents of Russian thistle and Scotch thistle. Two species of insects were sent to our quarantine laboratory for host specificity evaluation: Lixus rosenschoeldi for Russian thistle and Larinus latus for Scotch thistle. Colonies of these insects were established in our quarantine laboratory where we are conducting experiments to evaluate host plant specificity. A field experiment was conducted at Igdir, Turkey, with foreign cooperators to assess host plant specificity of L. latus. Planning, reporting and analysis were conducted by email and periodic meetings.