Location: Invasive Plant Research LaboratoryTitle: Comparative evaluation of two populations of Pseudophilothrips ichini as candidates for biological control of Brazilian peppertree Author
Submitted to: Biocontrol Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/23/2014
Publication Date: 5/14/2014
Citation: Manrique, V., Diaz, R., Erazo, L., Reddi, N., Wheeler, G.S., Williams, D., Overholt, W.A. 2014. Comparative evaluation of two populations of Pseudophilothrips ichini as candidates for biological control of Brazilian peppertree. Biocontrol Science and Technology. 24(5):518-535.2014. Interpretive Summary: Brazilian pepper, Schinus terebinthifolius is a serious environmental and agricultural weed in Florida and Hawaii and elsewhere in the world. At least two collections of the thrips Pseudophilothrips ichini were compared to determine which was best adapted to the subtropical Florida climate. The results indicate that a thrips population collected near Ouro Preto, Minas Geris, Brazil was more cold tolerant and had greater fecundity when fed both invasive weed genotypes that occur in Florida. Additional results indicate that thrips feeding will have a significant impact on the number of weed leaflets, healthy green stems and height. Other research is determining the safety of this population of thrips for release. If this species is deemed safe and is approved for release, the Ouro Preto population will have the greatest impact on populations of the target weed.
Technical Abstract: Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Sapindales: Anacardiaceae) is one of the worst invasive species in Florida. The thrips Pseudophilothrips ichini Hood (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) is being considered as a potential biological control agent of Brazilian peppertree. Two populations of this thrips were collected in the weed’s native range; one population from central-east Brazil (Ouro Preto thrips) and the second population from northeast Brazil (Salvador thrips). Studies on the temperature requirements, adult performance on plant genotypes, and efficacy of P ichini were examined in the laboratory. Complete development occurred when reared at temperatures ranging from 20 to 30°C for both thrips populations. However, the Ouro Preto thrips was more cold tolerant and performed better on two Brazilian peppertree haplotypes compared to the Salvador thrips. Based on these results, the Ouro Preto thrips may be a better candidate for biological control of Brazilian peppertree. Moreover, plant growth was greatly reduced by thrips feeding, which may result in lower reproduction and densities of Brazilian peppertree in the field.