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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Research Project #428881

Research Project: Search, Identification, and Exportation of Natural Enemies of the Aquatic Weeds Eichhornia Crassipes, Egeria Densa, and Ludwigia

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Project Number: 2030-22000-030-01-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2015
End Date: Jul 31, 2020

Objective:
To search natural enemies of the aquatic weeds Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms-Laubach (Pontederiaceae), Egeria densa Planchon (Hydrocharitaceae), and Ludwigia grandiflora (Michx.) Greuter & Burdet ssp. hexapetala (Hook. & Arn.) G.L. Nesom & Kartesz (Onagraceae) in Argentina and evaluate their potential use as biocontrol agents in USA.

Approach:
Collecting Methodology: Collecting permits will be obtained at the respective Provincial Fauna Districts for: Neochetina eichhorniae Warner (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), Megamelus scutellaris Berg (Hemiptera: Delphacidae), Taosa longula Remes Lenicov (Hemiptera: Delphacidae), Hydrellia sp. (Diptera: Ephydridae), Liothryps sp. (Insecta, Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripinae), Merocnemus binotatus (Boheman), Tyloderma elongatum Wibmer, Tyloderma nigromaculatum Hustache, Tyloderma affine Wibmer, and Tyloderma sp. (aeneotinctum group) Wibmer, (Insecta, Coleoptera, Curculionidae: Cryptorhynchini). The collection of insects will be conducted as follows: (1) selection of sites in the field with Eichhornia crassipes, Egeria densa, and Ludwigia g. ssp. hexapetala; (2) collection of stems/plants containing eggs and/or larvae of the natural enemies; (3) transportation of the stems to FUEDEI facilities with the respective Transportation Permits issued by the provincial authorities; (4) incubation of the immatures until adults emerge; and (5) adults will be used to establish a culture of each species. Note: In the collection process new insects associated to Eichhornia crassipes, Egeria densa, and Ludwigia g. ssp. hexapetala could be discovered and included in the candidate list to be studied. Laboratoy studies: Biology: Cultures of promising biocontrol agents will be established at the laboratory and biological data obtained: adult longevity, fecundity, duration of larval stages, etc. Host specificity tests: Adults of the candidates will be tested with feeding tests and with ovipositions test on the target weed and on related plants. Test plants will be selected by phylogeny and environmental association. In addition, host specificity test will be performed on inmature instars if necessary.