Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Proposed Field Release of Neomusotima Conspurcatalis (Warren) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), a Defoliator of the Old World Climbing Fern, Lygodium Microphyllum (CAV.) R. Br. (Lygodiaceae) in Florida.

Authors
item Pemberton, Robert
item Goolsby, John

Submitted to: Germplasm Release
Publication Type: Germplasm Release
Publication Acceptance Date: January 10, 2006
Publication Date: January 11, 2006
Citation: Pemberton, R.W., Goolsby, J. 2006. Proposed field release of neomusotima conspurcatalis (warren) (lepidoptera: crambidae), a defoliator of the old world climbing fern, lygodium microphyllum (cav.) r. br. (lygodiaceae) in florida. . Germplasm Release.

Interpretive Summary: Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum) is among the most serious invasive weeds of natural areas in Florida. Because of the severity of the problem and the limitations of existing control measures, a biological control project was begun in 1998. Surveys identified a Southeast Asian-Australian moth Neomusotima conspurcatalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). This larvae of this moth feeds on the leaves of the weed. Host plant specificity testing demonstrated that the moth is specialist able to attack only the target weed and a few related Lygodium species, but none of the Caribbean species. The native North American Lygodium palmatum was acceptable in testing but this plant is a temperate zone plant whereas the moth is a tropical moth, making it highly unlikely that the plant could be harmed by the moth. The finding that the moth’s functional host range, if introduced to the US, would be limited to the target weed, enabled a release petition to be written. This petition, which is a request field release in Florida (the first in the US), summarizes a wide array of research and information on moth including its biology and ecology as well as its safety and potential utility as a control agent. The petition was submitted to the USDA-APHIS Technical Advisory Group for Biological Control of Weeds for interagency scientific review.

Technical Abstract: Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum) is among the most serious invasive weeds of natural areas in Florida. Because of the severity of the problem and the limitations of existing control measures, a biological control project was begun in 1998. Surveys identified a Southeast Asian-Australian moth Neomusotima conspurcatalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). This larvae of this moth feeds on the leaves of the weed. Host plant specificity testing demonstrated that the moth is specialist able to attack only the target weed and a few related Lygodium species, but none of the Caribbean species. The native North American Lygodium palmatum was acceptable in testing but this plant is a temperate zone plant whereas the moth is a tropical moth, making it highly unlikely that the plant could be harmed by the moth. The finding that the moth’s functional host range, if introduced to the US, would be limited to the target weed, enabled a release petition to be written. This petition, which is a request field release in Florida (the first in the US), summarizes a wide array of research and information on moth including its biology and ecology as well as its safety and potential utility as a control agent. The petition was submitted to the USDA-APHIS Technical Advisory Group for Biological Control of Weeds for interagency scientific review.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page