Submitted to: Proceedings of the International Congress on Biological Control Weeds
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 30, 2003
Publication Date: October 10, 2004
Citation: Dolgovskaya, M.Y., Konstantinov, A.S., Reznik, S. 2004. Flea beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) associated with purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, in Russia. Proceedings of the International Congress on Biological Control Weeds. 1:96-101
Interpretive Summary: Leaf beetles are among the most agriculturally important insects to the US. Many are serious pests feeding on crops and destroying valuable plants; others are important biological control agents that can be used to control noxious weeds. This paper reports results of a study attempting to find flea beetles which could be used as biological control agents of purple loosestrife, one of the most important noxious weed in the United States. Four species of flea beetles feeding on this invasive weed were found in Russia. One of them has potential to be an effective biological control agent. The study will be useful to biological control workers, taxonomists, ecologists, and anyone interested in using phytophagous beetles to control purple loosestrife.
Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria L., has become one of the more troublesome wetland exotic invasive weeds in Canada and the United States from initial introductions some 200 years ago. In the US, purple loosestrife has spread to much of the contiguous 48 states (no records from Florida) with the highest density in the northeast. Similarly, the eastern Maritime Provinces in Canada appear to be the site of initial infestation; however, the weed is now recorded in all the Canadian provinces with the exception of Yukon and North-West Territories. A biological control effort begun in the 1970s resulted in the introduction in the 1990s of four insect species: a root-boring and a flower-feeding weevil, and two leaf beetle species (both adults and larvae are leaf feeders). As long-term impact assessment of these introductions are conducted, additional research is looking at other potential biological control agents, particularly insect species attacking both leaves and roots of the target plant. Thus, flea beetles with root-feeding larvae and leaf-feeding adults may be of value. Purple loosestrife is widespread in Russia in wet meadows, riverbanks and other moist habitats from the Baltic region to Eastern Russia. Literature searches, studies of museum collections and ecological observations in the field and the laboratory suggest that a number of flea beetle species feed on L. salicaria, of which Aphthona lutescens appears to be a particularly promising biocontrol agent.