Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #236320

Title: Tortricid moths (Lepidopotera: Tortricidae) reared from the invasive weed Parkinsonia aculeta (Fabaceae), with comments on their host specificity, biology, and geographic distribution

item Brown, John

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2010
Publication Date: 1/15/2011
Citation: Brown, J.W., Heard, T.A., Segura, R., Jadranka, R. 2011. Tortricid moths (Lepidopotera: Tortricidae) reared from the invasive weed Parkinsonia aculeta (Fabaceae), with comments on their host specificity, biology, and geographic distribution. Journal of Insect Science. 11(7):1-17.

Interpretive Summary: While the caterpillars of many moths in the family known as leaf-rollers are important pests of agriculture, several others have been used successfully as biological control agents against invasive weeds. In this paper we review seven species of leaf-roller moths that have been reared from Mexican palo verde, an ornamental shrub introduced into Australia over 100 years ago that has become an important weed pest. We evaluate each species for its potential to be used against Mexican palo verde in Australia. This information will be of interest to biological control labs worldwide.

Technical Abstract: During efforts to identify native herbivores of Parkinsonia aculeata L. (Fabaceae: Caesalpiniodeae) as potential biological control agents against this invasive weed in Australia, seven species of Tortricidae were reared in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Venezuela: Amorbia concavana (Zeller), Platynota stultana Walsingham, Platynota rostrana (Walker) (Tortricinae: Sparganothini), Rudenia leguminana (Busck), Cochylis sp. (Tortricinae: Cochylini), Ofatulena duodecemstriata (Walsingham), and O. luminosa Heinrich (Olethretinae: Grapholitini). These are the first documented records of P. aculeata as a host plant for all but O. luminosa. The three species of Sparganothini likely are polyphagous; in contrast, the two Cochylini and two Grapholitini likely are specialists on Fabaceae. Significant geographic range extensions are provided for O. duodecemstriata and Rudenia legumina. Rearing and distribution records from a variety of sources suggest that none of these species is host-specific on P. aculeata. However, host trials with Rudenia leguminana provide some evidence of specificity. In addition, we examined two data sets of molecular markers for Rudenia: (1) a combined data set of two mitochondrial markers (a 781-basepair region of cytochrome c oxidase I and a 685-basepair region of cytochrome c oxidase II) and one nuclear marker (a 531-basepair region of the 28S domain 2; and (2) the 650-basepair “barcode” region of COI. Corrected pairwise distances among specimens from the same geographic location for the three mitochondrial markers ranged from 0-1%. Conversely, corrected pairwise distances between specimens from more distant locations ranged from 3.2-13.5% for COI and 2.4-5.9% for COII. Although these data strongly suggest that more than one species is involved, increased sampling over the broad range (e.g., filling geographic gaps in the samples) is necessary to answer this question fully.