Submitted to: Germplasm Release
Publication Type: Germplasm Release
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2009
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum) is one of the most serious invasive weeds in Florida. Neostromboceros albicomus is a sawfly (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae) native to Thailand. The caterpillar-like larvae consume the leaves of Old World climbing fern. Host plant specificity testing in the Fort Lauderdale biological control quarantine laboratory demonstrated that the sawfly is a narrow specialist able to feed significantly and develop only four species of Lygodium climbing ferns. These include two native West Indian species (L. volubile and L. oligostachyum) and two introduced weeds, the target (L. microphyllum) and another introduced weed (L. japonicum). No native or economic plants in North America are likely to be feed upon by the sawfly. The finding that Neostromboceros albicomus is a highly specialized feeder, enabled a release petition for this sawfly to be written. This petition, which is a request for field release in Florida (the first in the US), summarizes a wide array of research and information on sawfly including its biology and ecology as well as its safety and potential utility as a control agent. The petition will be submitted to the USDA-APHIS Technical Advisory Group for Biological Control of Weeds for interagency scientific review. Their approval of the petition, followed by an Environmental Assessment largely based on the petition, are the next steps in the process leading to the potential use of the sawfly for Lygodium microphyllum control.
Technical Abstract: No abstract.