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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biology and host specificity of Coelocephalapion gandolfoi Kissinger (Brentidae) a promising candidate for the biological control of invasive Prosopis species (Leguminosae) in South Africa

Author
item Mc Kay, Fernando
item Gandolfo, Daniel (d.)
item Witt, Arne

Submitted to: African Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/21/2012
Publication Date: 8/1/2012
Citation: Mc Kay, F., Gandolfo, D., Witt, A. 2012. Biology and host specificity of Coelocephalapion gandolfoi Kissinger (Brentidae) a promising candidate for the biological control of invasive Prosopis species (Leguminosae) in South Africa. African Entomology. 20(2):281-291.

Interpretive Summary: Mesquite species pose a significant threat to biodiversity, pasture production, and water resources in South Africa. In an attempt to contain the spread of this noxious weed the South African authorities have supported the introduction of host-specific and damaging seed-feeding biocontrol agents. In order to increase seed losses caused by existing agents surveys were undertaken in Argentina and a seed-feeding weevil identified. The biology and the host range of this seed-feeding weevil were studied in Argentina and South Africa to evaluate its potential as a biocontrol agent. The period from oviposition to adult emergence was c. 40 days. Field surveys found that the weevil was responsible for great amounts of the seed damage on native mesquite species. The host range of the seed-feeding weevil was restricted to certain mesquite species, and the preference to lay eggs and feed for mesquite species native to Argentina and invasive to Saouth Africa from North America was very high. We consider this seed-feeding weevil to be a good candidate for the biological control of invasive mesquite species in South Africa.

Technical Abstract: Invasive Prosopis species (Leguminosae) (mesquite) pose a significant threat to biodiversity, pasture production, and water resources in South Africa. In an attempt to contain the spread of this noxious weed the South African authorities have supported the introduction of host-specific and damaging seed-feeding biocontrol agents. In order to increase seed losses caused by existing agents surveys were undertaken in Argentina and a seed-feeding weevil Coelocaphalapion gandolfoi Kissinger (Coleoptera: Brentidae: Apioninae) identified. Aspects of the biology and the host range of this seed-feeding weevil were studied in Argentina and South Africa to evaluate its potential as a biocontrol agent. The period from oviposition to adult emergence was c. 40 days. The duration of the stages was: 11-20 days for eggs, 25-40 days for larvae, and 6-16 days for pupae. Field surveys found that the beetle was responsible for 51% of the seed damage on P. flexuosa. The host range of C. gandolfoi was restricted to Prosopis species in the section Algarobia. Oviposition and feeding preference for Prosopis species native to Argentina and P. glandulosa from North America was very high. We consider C. gandolfoi to be a good candidate for the biological control of invasive Prosopis species in South Africa.

Last Modified: 09/23/2017
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