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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effect of host-plant genotypes on the performance of three candidate biological control agents of Schinus terebinthifolius in Florida.

Authors
item Manrique, V - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
item Cuda, Jp - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
item Overholt, Wa - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
item Williams, D - TEXAS CHIRSTIAN UNIV
item Wheeler, Gregory

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2008
Publication Date: July 24, 2008
Citation: Manrique, V., Cuda, J., Overholt, W., Williams, D., Wheeler, G.S. 2008. Effect of host-plant genotypes on the performance of two candidate biological control agents of Brazilian peppertree in Florida.. Biological Control, Vol. 47, pps. 167-171.

Interpretive Summary: Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi), native to South America, is an invasive weed in Florida, California and Hawaii. Genetic studies have recognized two Brazilian peppertree haplotypes (A and B) in Florida, and extensive hybridization has occurred between these two populations. Three candidate biological control agents were identified from the native range (Brazil); a leaflet rolling moth Episimus utilis Zimmerman, a population of Pseudophilothrips ichini Hood from Ouro Preto, and a second unidentified thrips taxon from Curitiba, Brazil. The objective of this study was to compare the performance of these three candidates on different Brazilian peppertree genotypes found in Florida and Brazil. Survival (54%), adult longevity (9 days), fecundity (84 eggs laid), and fertility (68% eggs hatched) of E. utilis were similar on all Brazilian peppertree genotypes tested from Florida. In contrast, the two thrips differed in their ability to utilize different genotypes of their host plant. The unidentified thrips from Curitiba exhibited low survival (0-4 %) and short adult longevity (<10 days) when reared on Florida genotypes, whereas higher survival (~50%) and longevity (~30 days) were observed for P. ichini on these genotypes. These findings highlight the importance of examining insect performance on plant genotypes present in the introduced and native ranges when selecting biocontrol agents. The ecological significance of the results is discussed in the context of plant genotypes and possible local adaptation of their natural enemies.

Technical Abstract: Brazilian pepper is a weed in Florida, California and Hawaii that originates from South America. In Florida we have found two distinct types of Brazilian pepper plant and a hybrid between these two types. To control this weed, three biological control agents are being evaluated from Brazil. These are a defoliating caterpillar, and two species of thrips, one from Ouro Preto and another from Curitiba. We compared the survival and performance of these insects when fed the leaves of the different Brazilian pepper plant types. Survival (54%), adult longevity (9 days), fecundity (84 eggs laid), and fertility (68% eggs hatched) of the caterpillar were similar on all Brazilian peppertree types tested from Florida. In contrast, the two thrips species differed in their response to the different plant types. The thrips from Curitiba exhibited low survival (0-4%) and short adult longevity (<10 days) when fed Florida genotypes, whereas higher survival (~50%) and longevity (~30 days) were observed for the Ouro Preto thrips on these plant types. These findings highlight the importance of examining insect performance on plant types present in the introduced and native ranges when selecting biocontrol agents. The ecological significance of the results is discussed in the context of plant genotypes and possible local adaptation of their natural enemies.

Last Modified: 12/25/2014
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