Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2013
Publication Date: 9/1/2013
Citation: Wheeler, G.S. 2013. A Florida defoliator found: Nystalea ebalea (Lepidoptera: Notodontidae) feeding on Brazilian peppertree. Florida Entomologist. 96(3):1228-1230. 2013.
Interpretive Summary: A caterpillar species was found in south Florida feeding on the invasive weed, Brazilian peppertree. Biological details are included that document the number of instar stages and their duration. This insect was also found in South America while conducting surveys of biological control agents targeting this invasive species. Documentation of this discovery is important as it will preclude future work on this insect as a potential biological control agent of this invasive weed in Florida.
Technical Abstract: A species of Notodontidae, Nystalea ebalea was discovered feeding on leaflets of the invasive weed Schinus terebinthifolius in south Florida. The larvae of this species have generally 5 instars and require 20-22 d to reach the pupal stage. Discovery of wild populations of this Neotropical species in the weed's invasive range precluded its consideration as a classical biological control agent.