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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Ecological Interactions in Integrated and Biologically-Based Management of Invasive Plant Species in Western Rangelands

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: Host range testing and biology of Abia sericea (Cimbicidae), a candidate for biological control of invasive teasels (Dipsacus spp.) in North America

Authors
item Harizanova, Vili -
item Stoeva, Atanaska -
item Rector, Brian

Submitted to: Journal of Hymenoptera Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 30, 2012
Publication Date: August 24, 2012
Citation: Harizanova, V., Stoeva, A., Rector, B.G. 2012. Host range testing and biology of Abia sericea (Cimbicidae), a candidate for biological control of invasive teasels (Dipsacus spp.) in North America. Journal of Hymenoptera Research. 28:1-11. DOI: 10.3897/JHR.28.3044.

Interpretive Summary: Invasive teasels are widespread in the USA, occurring in 43 states and listed as noxious in five. A classical biological control program targeting teasels was established by USDA-ARS, through which insects that damage teasels in their native range will be imported to the USA to reduce teasel populations. The sawfly Abia sericea (L.) is under evaluation as a potential agent for biological control of teasels. The host range, biology, and life history of this insect were studied under laboratory conditions, as well as in common garden experiments from 2006-2010 at the Agricultural University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. In the laboratory experiments, sawfly eggs were laid only on teasel plants with the exception of one sawfly that laid eggs on Valeriana officinalis. This individual may have been influenced by the presence of a teasel plant in the same cage. Also, the larvae that hatched from these eggs did not feed on that plant, crawling instead to an adjacent teasel plant to feed. Larval feeding was observed only on teasel, Knautia arvensis, and Scabiosa ochloreuca, which are all in the family Dipsacaceae. This plant family has no species native to the New World nor any of important economic value, so feeding by the sawfly on plants in this family is not of great concern. In common garden tests into which adults and third- and fourth-instar larvae were released in separate tests, eggs were laid and larvae fed only on teasel plants. The results of these experiments indicate that A. sericea has a narrow host range, likely limited to teasels and a few other Dipsacaceae, and that further pre-release studies in a US quarantine facility are warranted.

Technical Abstract: Invasive teasels (Dipsacus spp., Dipsacaceae) are widespread in the USA, being present in 43 states and listed as noxious in five. The cimbicid sawfly Abia sericea (L.) is under evaluation as a potential agent for biological control of teasels. The host range, biology, and life history of this insect were studied under laboratory conditions, as well as in common garden experiments from 2006-2010 at the Agricultural university of Plovdiv, Bulgaria in order to determine if this candidate justified the expense of further testing under quarantine conditions in the USA. In the laboratory, potted plants from twelve plant species belonging to seven families were tested in choice oviposition and feeding tests. Eggs were laid only on D. laciniatus and D. fullonum plants with only one exception, on Valeriana officinalis, although the larvae that hatched from the latter did not feed on that plant. Larval feeding was observed only on D. laciniatus, Knautia arvensis, and Scabiosa ochloreuca, all in the family Dipsacaceae, which has no species native to the New World nor any of important economic value. In common garden tests into which adults and third- and fourth-instar larvae were released in separate tests, eggs were laid and larvae fed only on D. laciniatus. The results of these experiments indicate that A. sericea has a narrow host range, likely limited to Dipsacus spp., and a few other Dipsacaceae and that further pre-release studies in a US quarantine are warranted.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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