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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT & EVALUATION OF BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS FOR INVASIVE SPECIES THREATENING THE EVERGLADES & OTHER NATURAL AND MANANGED SYSTEMS

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Title: Life history and host range of the leaf blotcher Eucosmophora schinusivora; a candidate for biological control of Schinus terebinthifolius in the USA

Authors
item Rendon, Jessica -
item Chawner, Megan -
item Dyer, Kirsten
item Wheeler, Gregory

Submitted to: Biocontrol Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 28, 2012
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
Citation: Rendon, J., Chawner, M., Dyer, K.G., Wheeler, G.S. 2012. Life history and host range of the leaf blotcher Eucosmophora schinusivora; a candidate for biological control of Schinus terebinthifolius in the USA. Biocontrol Science and Technology. 22:711-722.

Interpretive Summary: The suitability of a new species Eucosmophora schinusivora of insect was determined for biological control of the invasive weed, Brazilian pepper, Schinus terebinthifolius. This is a serious environmental and agricultural weed in the USA and elsewhere in the world. The life history of this leaf mining species and its safety toward native and economic plants was determined in the laboratory with adult no-choice egg deposition, larval survival and development tests. Life history results indicated that this species has 5 stages or instars, the first 3 are sap feeding miners and the last 2 are tissue feeding. Total development time from larva to adults was 31.7 days. To examine safety of this species, ten plant species in the plant family cashew or sumac (Anacardiaceae) were selected based on relatedness to the weed, economic importance, and availability. In the laboratory, except for cashew, Anacardium occidentale and American smoketree Cotinus obovatus, all of the tested species were accepted for oviposition with a marked preference for the weed Brazilian pepper, Peruvian peppertree (Schinus molle), winged sumac (Rhus copallinum), Neneleau (R. sandwicensis), and Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis). Incipient mines successfully developed into complete mines, pupae and adults only on the weed, Peruvian peppertree, winged sumac, Chinese pistache, and Florida poisontree (Metopium toxiferum). In conclusion, E. schinusivora will not be considered for the biological control of S. terebinthifolius in the continental U.S. However, the utilization of this species in other infested areas such as Hawaii and Australia should be considered.

Technical Abstract: The host range of Eucosmophora schinusivora Davis & Wheeler (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) was studied to assess its suitability as a biological control agent of Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae), a serious environmental and agricultural weed in the USA and elsewhere in the world. The life history of this insect species and its host range was determined in the laboratory with adult no-choice oviposition and larval development tests. This species has 5 instars, the first 3 are sap feeding miners and the last 2 are tissue feeding. Total development time was 31.7 days. To examine specificity of this species, ten plant species in Anacardiaceae were selected based on taxonomic relatedness to S. terebinthifolius, economic importance, and availability. In the laboratory, except for Anacardium occidentale and Cotinus obovatus, all of the tested species were accepted for oviposition with a marked preference for the weed S. terebinthifolius, Schinus molle, Rhus copallinum, R. sandwicensis, and Pistacia chinensis. Incipient mines successfully developed into complete mines, pupae and adults only on S. terebinthifolius, S. molle, R. copallinum, P. chinensis, and M. toxiferum. In conclusion, E. schinusivora will not be considered for the biological control of S. terebinthifolius in continental U.S. However, the utilization of this species in other infested areas such as Hawaii and Australia should be considered.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014