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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE WEEDS IN THE WESTERN UNITED STATES

Location: Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research

Title: Host preference between saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) and native non-target Frankenia spp. within the Diorhabda elongata species complex (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)

Authors
item HERR, JOHN
item CARRUTHERS, RAYMOND
item Bean, Dan - COLORADO DEPT OF AGRIC
item Deloach Jr, Culver

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 28, 2009
Publication Date: December 1, 2009
Citation: Herr, J.C., Carruthers, R.I., Bean, D.W., Deloach Jr, C.J. 2009. Host preference between Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) and native non-target Frankenia spp. within the Diorhabda elongata species complex (Coleoptera: chrysomelidae). Biological Control. 51:337-345.

Interpretive Summary: The beetle Diorhabda elongata from China, was established in several locations in the western United States in 2001 for the biological control of saltcedar, a highly invasive tree. However, it failed to establish in the southern and western portions of the saltcedar range, creating the need to import additional populations of the beetle from different areas of the world. The environmental safety of seven Eurasian populations of D. elongata was evaluated through feeding and egg-laying tests on a variety of agricultural, ornamental and native plants. No beetle larvae survived on any of the test plants except for native plants in the genus Frankenia, where survival to the adult stage ranged between 15 and 92 percent. In egg-laying experiments using adult beetles, all seven Diorhabda populations laid significantly more eggs on saltcedar than Frankenia. However, the percentage of total eggs laid on Frankenia ranged from 0.8 to 15.7 percent, suggesting that some feeding on this native plant might occur in the field, despite the presence of saltcedar, the preferred host plant. Significant differences were found between some Diorhabda populations in the percent of total eggs laid on Frankenia, indicating that beetles from certain regions may be less likely to feed on these native plants in the field.

Technical Abstract: Since its release in 2001 for the biological control of saltcedar (Tamarix spp., Tamaricaceae), the leaf beetle Diorhabda elongata (Brullé) from China, has become successfully established in many locations in the western United States. However, it failed to establish in the southern and western portions of the saltcedar infestation, creating the need to test additional populations of the beetle from different regions of origin. The host specificity of seven Eurasian populations of D. elongata was evaluated by testing larval development and adult ovipositional preference on a variety of non-target agricultural, ornamental and native plants, with emphasis placed on native Frankenia spp. (Frankeniaceae), which were shown to be laboratory hosts in previous tests. No larvae survived on any of the non-target test plants except for Frankenia spp., where survival to the adult stage ranged between 15 and 92 percent, and was often not significantly different from survival on Tamarix controls. Adult Diorhabda from Crete laid significantly more eggs on Tamarix ramosissima Ledebour than on Frankenia spp. in a multiple-choice oviposition test but showed very little discrimination between Tamarix and Frankenia species in a no-choice test. In paired-choice tests, all seven Diorhabda populations laid significantly more eggs on T. ramosissima than Frankenia salina (Molina) I. M. Johnston. However, the percentage of total eggs laid on F. salina ranged from 0.8 to 15.7 percent, suggesting that some utilization of this native plant might occur in the field, despite the presence of a preferred host plant. Significant differences were found between some Diorhabda populations in the percent of total eggs laid on F. salina, indicating a variable degree of risk to these non-target plants.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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