2012 Annual Report
Prior to the collection of their natural enemies, more in depth studies on the biology, ecology, genetics, and/or taxonomy of water primrose, cactus moth and little fire ant are required. These studies are planned as sub-objectives.
Target priorities are set by Congressional mandates, as a result of stakeholder workshops, or by hierarchical decision with input from ARS National Program Leaders (NPLs), stakeholders, SABCL director and ARS scientists. Flexibility in this Project is needed to deal with new pest problems in the U.S., with concurrence of NPLs and ARS laboratories.
SABCL functions as an overseas arm for several U.S.-based biological control programs on invasive pests of South American origin (except glassy-winged sharpshooter), conducting foreign exploration, collection and evaluation of potential biological control agents to be used in the U.S.
Waterhyacinth, Brazilian peppertree, imported fire ants, and glassy-winged sharpshooter were also targets in the previous Project Plan and, except for Brazilian peppertree, Obj.1 and Obj.2 have already been accomplished; current work is limited to collecting and shipping of selected agents (Obj.3). Brazilian waterweed, water primrose, water lettuce, cactus moth, little fire ants and Harrisia cactus mealybug were added by NPLs during the implementation of the previous Project Plan and investigations are in different stages of progress; for the most recently-added targets (cactus moth, little fire ant and Harrisia cactus mealybug), specific approach and procedures for Ob.2 will be determined as soon as natural enemies are discovered, collected and identified.
The general impact of work conducted at SABCL includes conservation of non-renewable resources by self-perpetuation of natural enemies; cost-effective suppression of target pests; decreased use of hazardous pesticides; improved environment quality; protection of natural ecosystems from invasive species, favoring biodiversity; sustainable production systems and land use; higher quality food and fiber; higher protection of human health; enhanced scientific understanding of successful biocontrol programs and integrated pest management.
Brazilian waterweed. An experimental tidal system was constructed to test the suitability of a candidate fly. The experiment consists of transparent polycarbonate tubes with 200 liters of water, hydrosoil at the bottom and ramets planted. A water pump changes the water levels. Flies will be released into the tubes in Spring and damage on the weed will be evaluated. A laboratory colony of the fly was established, clean of parasitoids and pathogens, ready to ship to the U.S.
Water primrose. Morphological and cytological studies of the weed were continued and permitted their reliable identification. Nineteen species of insects were associated to this weed and their field host ranges are being studied.
Water lettuce. A competition, damage, and compatibility test with two natural enemies was evaluated in cages located on a pond covered with the weed in a Natural Reserve. Damage was found to be highly significant representing promising results.
Imported fire ants. An Access and Benefit Sharing agreement, a non funded cooperative agreement (58-6615-119FN), and a Research Project were signed with ARS-CMAVE in Gainesville, FL. These documents are requirements from Argentine regulatory agencies to export genetic resources to the U.S. The evolutionary relationships among 11 species of parasitoid flies revealed that they constitute a monophyletic group. Several putative sibling species have been discovered.
Cactus moth. A large survey to determine field patterns of host use was concluded. The moth attacked hosts proportionally to the availability in all regions. The description of a wasp as new natural enemy was concluded and is being published. Its improved rearing protocol was established to increment colony numbers and the number of females of the offspring. Host range tests revealed that a close-relative moth was attacked as well, but at lower level.
Little fire ant (LFA). Genetic studies were performed to obtain a phylogenetic tree and to construct an unrooted phylogenetic network to identify demographic processes suffered by LFA populations. Thirty three new haplotypes were discovered. New genetic evidence suggested that the presence of this ant in Argentina is the result of a recent range expansion process from Brazil. The thermal tolerance and plasticity of these ants were also studied. Species distribution modeling revealed that the Mediterranean region is not climatically suitable for the establishment of this ant and thus, the population introduced in Israel should not spread into natural habitats in that region. The potential global range expansion included Florida (USA), eastern Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar; Africa is the only region which has not been invaded yet.
Briano, J., Calcaterra, L., Varone, L. 2012. Fire ants (Solenopsis spp.)and their natural enemies in southern South America. Psyche. DOI: 10.1155/2012/198084.
Mc Kay, F., Oleiro, M.I., Diniz Vitorino, M., Wheeler, G.S. 2012. The leafmining Leurocephala schinusae (Lepidoptera Gracillariidae): Not suitable for the biological control of Schinus terebinthifolius (Sapindales Anacardiaceae)in continental USA. Biocontrol Science and Technology. 22(4):477-489. DOI: 10.1080/09583157.2012.664618.
Logarzo, G.A., Zamar, M., Richman, D., Bruzone, O. 2012. Structure and composition of a thrips community in the Chihuahua Desert, New Mexico, U.S.. Florida Entomologist. 95(1):35-42.
Julien, M., Sosa, A.J., Traversa, G., Van Klinken, R. 2012. Phyla canescens (Kunth) Greene-lippia. Book Chapter. In:Julien, M.; McFadyen, R.; Cullen,J. editors. Biological Control of Weeds in Australia. Australia: CSIRO Publishing. p.463-471.
Julien, M., Sosa, A., Chan, R., Schooler, S., Traversa, G. 2012. Alternathera philoxeroides (Martius) Grisebach - alligator weed. Book Chapter. In: Julien, M.; McFadyen, R.; Cullen, J., editors. Biological Control of Weeds in Australia.Australia: CSIRO Publishing. p.43-51.
De Leon, J.H., Setamou, M., Gastaminza, G., Buenahora, J., Caceres, S., Yamamoto, P., Bouvet, J.P., Logarzo, G. 2011. Two separate introductions of Asian citrus psyllid populations found in the American continents. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 104(6):1392-1398.
Briano, J., Varone, L., Logarzo, G., Villamil, C. 2012. Extended geographical distribution and host range of the cactus moth Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera Pyralidae)in Argentina. Florida Entomologist. 95(1):233-237.
Calcaterra, L., Coulin, C., Briano, J., Follett, P.A. 2012. Acute exposure to low dose radiation disrupts reproduction and shortens survival of Wasmannia auropunctata (Hymenoptera Formicidae)queens. Journal of Economic Entomology. 105(3):817-822.
Cabrera Walsh, G. 2012. Chrysomelids American diabroticines Hosts and natural enemies. Biology-feasibility for control of pest species (Crisomelidos Diabroticinos americanos Hospederos y enemigos naturales Biologia y factibili manejo especies plagas. Chrysomelids American Diabroticines: Hosts and natural enemies. Spain:Editorial Academica Espanola. p.1-143.
Cabrera Walsh, G., Dalto, Y., Mattioli, F., Carruthers, R.I., Anderson, L.W. 2013. Biology and ecology of Brazilian elodea (Egeria densa) and its specific herbivore Hydrellia sp in Argentina. Biocontrol. DOI 10.1007/s10526-012-9475-x.
Cabrera Walsh, G., Briano, J., Briano, A. 2012. El control biologico de plagas(Biological control of pests). Ciencia Hoy. 22(128):57-64.
Cabrera, N., Cabrera Walsh, G. 2010. Diabrotica collicola (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)a new species of leaf beetle from Argentina Discussion and key to some similar species of the Diabrotica virgifera group. Zootaxa. 2683:45-55.
Brooks, C.P., Ervin, G.N., Varone, L., Logarzo, G. 2012. Native ecotypic variation and the role of host identity in the spread of an invasive herbivore Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg). Ecology. 93(2):402-410.