Page Banner

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: Plant genotype effects on a host specific thrips and the impact on biological control

Authors
item Wheeler, Gregory
item Williams, D -
item Mound, L -

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 14, 2009
Publication Date: October 1, 2010
Repository URL: http://www.insectscience.org/10.166/abstract102.html
Citation: Wheeler, G.S., Williams, D.A., Mound, L.A. 2010. Plant genotype effects on a host specific thrips and the impact on biological control. Journal of Insect Science. Vol.10, Article 166.

Interpretive Summary: A promising thrips has been considered for biological control of the invasive weed Brazilian pepper in Florida. This thrips was originally collected from southern Brazil where it was frequently found associated with significant damage to its host. Subsequently this thrips was introduced into quarantine in Florida, USA to determine its safety for field release to control this weed. However, the thrips could not feed and survive while eating the Florida varieties of the weed. Although this thrips was collected on Brazilian pepper in Brazil, its survival was less than 5% when fed the Florida variety of Brazilian pepper. Extensive DNA and morphological analysis of the thrips has determined that the quarantined species is incorrectly identified and constitutes a new species, know described as Pseudophilothrips gandolfoi. Chloroplast DNA analysis of the host revealed 14 varieties and the discovery that the new species of thrips was both limited geographically in Brazil and nutritionally to 2 Brazilian host varieties, neither of which occur in Florida. As a result of these studies, individuals of the species P. ichini have been correctly identified in Brazil. These thrips were found feeding on the Florida variety of the host in Brazil. Populations of P. ichini have been colonized and are undergoing quarantine testing in Florida to determine suitability for release to control the weed. By revealing thrips by host plant genetic compatibilities, these results have directed the next phase of the quarantine testing of this invasive weed that show promise for controlling this invasive weed in Florida.

Technical Abstract: A promising thrips, Pseudophilothrips ichini (Phlaeothripidae) has been considered for biological control of the invasive weed Brazilian pepper Schinus terebinthifolius. This thrips was originally collected from a southern region of Brazil where it was frequently found associated with significant damage to its host. Subsequently this thrips was introduced into quarantine in Florida, USA to determine its safety for field release to control this weed. However, a major limitation of the thrips population tested in quarantine was its apparent nutritional incompatibility with the genetic varieties of the host that occur in Florida. Although this thrips was collected on the host in Brazil, its survival was less than 5% when fed the Florida variety of Brazilian pepper. Extensive DNA and morphological analysis of the thrips has determined that the quarantined species is incorrectly identified and constitutes a new cryptic species Pseudophilothrips n. sp. Chloroplast DNA analysis of the host revealed 14 genetic varieties and the discovery that the new species of thrips was both limited geographically in Brazil and nutritionally to 2 Brazilian host varieties, neither of which occur in Florida. As a result of these studies, individuals of the species P. ichini have been correctly identified in Brazil. These thrips were found feeding on the Florida variety of the host in Brazil. Populations of P. ichini have been colonized and are undergoing quarantine testing in Florida to determine suitability for release to control the weed. By revealing thrips x host plant genetic compatibilities, these results have directed the next phase of the quarantine testing of this invasive weed that show promise for controlling this invasive weed in Florida.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page