Location: Subtropical Plant Pathology ResearchTitle: NATURAL ENEMIES OF MIKANIA MICRANTHA IN FLORIDA) Author
Submitted to: Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/5/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Mikania micrantha Kunth is native to Central and South America, and is considered to be one of the most serious invasive plants in Asia. It was discovered for the first time in North America in October 2009 near Homestead. To understand the impact of native natural enemies on Mikania micrantha, we are conducting field surveys in the Homestead area and laboratory experiments in our quarantine facility in Fort Pierce. The objectives of field surveys are to identify insect herbivores and diseases of M. micrantha, M. scandens and M. cordifolia and measure the level of damage they cause. To date, we have found several natural enemies, including leaf rollers, leaf miners, mites, aphids and foliar diseases damaging the three Mikania species. Several of the insect herbivores were found to attack the exotic and native species, indicating that local herbivores have expanded their host ranges to utilize the exotic species. The incidence of the foliar disease (Septoria mikania-micranthae) was measured from 1 m2 of foliage and in some sites, up to 80% of the area was affected. Our preliminary results clearly indicate that several natural enemies of the native M. scandens and M. cordifolia have expanded their host ranges to include the exotic M. micrantha. Whether the degree of damage inflicted by these natural enemies is sufficient to prevent M. micrantha from becoming a serious invasive plant in Florida, is not yet known.