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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Arthropods Associated with above-Ground Portions of the Invasive Tree Melaleuca Quinquenervia in South Florida, Usa.

Authors
item Costello, Sheryl - SCA
item Pratt, Paul
item Rayachhetry, Min - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
item Center, Ted

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 20, 2003
Publication Date: October 20, 2003
Citation: Costello, S., Pratt, P.D., Rayachhetry, M., Center, T.D. 2003. ARTHROPODS ASSOCIATED WITH ABOVE-GROUND PORTIONS OF THE INVASIVE TREE MELALEUCA QUINQUENERVIA IN SOUTH FLORIDA, USA.. Florida Entomologist. 86(3):300-322. 2003.

Interpretive Summary: Melaleuca quinquenervia, the broad-leaved paperbark tree, has invaded approximately 400,000 acres in south Florida, including portions of the Everglades National Park. We surveyed the melaleuca foliage in south Florida to determine if native or accidentally introduced insects attack these trees and assess the potential for predators or parasitoids to interfere with the establishment and success of future biological control agents. Herein we quantify the abundance of arthropods present on the above-ground portions of saplings and small M. quinquenervia trees at four sites. Only eight of the 328 arthropods collected were observed feeding on the tree, in contrast to the 409 known plant-feeding species in its native range of Australia. Among the arthropods collected in south Florida, 19 species are agricultural or horticultural pests. The high percentage of rare species (72.0%), presumed to be transient or merely resting on the foliage, and the lack of species observed feeding on the weed, suggests that future biological control agents will face little if any competition from pre-existing plant-feeding insects.

Technical Abstract: Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S. T. Blake, the broad-leaved paperbark tree, has invaded ca. 202,000 ha in Florida, including portions of the Everglades National Park. We performed prerelease surveys in south Florida to determine if native or accidentally introduced arthropods exploit this invasive plant species and assess the potential for higher trophic levels to interfere with the establishment and success of future biological control agents. Herein we quantify the abundance of arthropods present on the above-ground portions of saplings and small M. quinquenervia trees at four sites. Only eight of the 328 arthropods collected were observed feeding on M. quinquenervia, in contrast to the 409 known plant-feeding species in its native range of Australia. Among the arthropods collected in the plants adventive range, 19 species are agricultural or horticultural pests. The high percentage of rare species (72.0%), presumed to be transient or merely resting on the foliage, and the paucity of species observed feeding on the weed, suggests that future biological control agents will face little if any competition from pre-existing plant-feeding arthropods.

Last Modified: 11/24/2014
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