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Research Project: Foreign Exploration And Preliminary Testing Of Potential Biological Control Agents For Azolla Pinnata Subspecies Pinnata

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Project Number: 6032-22000-012-43-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2018
End Date: Jun 30, 2019

1. Survey infestations of Azolla pinnata subspecies pinnata in eastern states of Australia for prospective biological control agents. 2. Conduct preliminary host range testing of prospective agents on North American species of Azolla, primarily Azolla filiculoides.

Foreign exploration and preliminary host range testing. Surveys of known locations of Azolla pinnata subspecis pinnata will be conducted in the states of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia. Plant samples from these locations will be collected by Australian Biological Control Laboratory (ABCL) personnel and examined carefully for arthropods. Any eggs or larvae found will be reared to the adult stage to allow identification to taxonomic limits and to establish colonies. The most promising species will be evaluated for specificity in host range testing only against North American Azolla species, primarily Azolla filiculoides because this species has invaded Australia and is readily available. Testing could also be done on Azolla caroliniana if available. No-choice, choice, and multigenerational tests will be conducted at ABCL in Brisbane, Australia. The most likely species to be designated for this abridged (reduced) testing will be Bagous clarenciensis Blackburn (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) which has already been identified in South East Queensland and northern New South Wales feeding on A. pinnata. If this or other identified insect species only attack A. pinnata, then a more extensive testing regime will be considered in the future.