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Research Project: Bio-Rational Approaches to Manage Insect Pests of Potato Crops

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Title: Host specificity testing and examination for plant pathogens reveals that the gall-forming psyllid, Calophya latiforceps (Hemiptera: Calophyidae), is safe to release for biological control of Schinus terebinthifolia

Author
item DIAZ, RODRIGO - University Of Florida
item MANRIQUE, VERONICA - University Of Florida
item Munyaneza, Joseph - Joe
item SENGODA, VENKATESAN - Washington State University
item Adkins, Scott
item ROBERTS, PAMELA - University Of Florida
item OVERHOLT, WILLIAM - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/29/2014
Publication Date: 1/1/2015
Citation: Diaz, R., Manrique, V., Munyaneza, J.E., Sengoda, V.G., Adkins, S.T., Roberts, P., Overholt, W.A. 2015. Host specificity testing and examination for plant pathogens reveals that the gall-forming psyllid, Calophya latiforceps (Hemiptera: Calophyidae), is safe to release for biological control of Schinus terebinthifolia. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 154:1-14.

Interpretive Summary: Brazilian peppertree is one of the worst upland exotic weeds in Florida and has also been reported in several other states of the United States. Researchers at USDA-ARS Wapato in Washington and Fort Pierce in Florida, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Florida, assessed the risks of using a pit-gall psyllid imported from Brazil as a biological agent to control the weed in Florida. The insect failed to develop on 88 non-target plants examined and did not harbor any plant pathogens that we tested. Thus, these findings indicate that this psyllid is a safe candidate for biological control of the peppertree and its release in United States will have extremely low risk to non-target plants, and provides an effective tool for the management of this important weed.

Technical Abstract: Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia Raddi) is one of the worst upland exotic weeds in Florida. Foreign exploration for natural enemies led to the discovery of a pit-galling psyllid, Calophya latiforceps (Hemiptera: Calophyidae), in the state of Bahia, Brazil in 2010. Crawlers of C. latiforceps stimulate the formation of gall on the leaves of S. terebinthifolia resulting in leaf discoloration and in some cases leaf abscission. To determine whether C. latiforceps is a safe candidate for biological control of S. terebinthifolia, host specificity and the presence of selected plant pathogens were examined. Adult oviposition, gall formation and adult survival of C. latiforceps were examined on 89 plant species under no-choice and choice conditions. We found that C. latiforceps laid eggs on plants in seven families; however, crawlers stimulated gall formation and completed development to adult only on S. terebinthifolia. All crawlers on non-target plants died, likely due to starvation caused by the lack of feeding stimulus and the direct host plant reaction or hypersensitivity. Under no-choice conditions, 10% of adults lived for 19 days on the target weed, but adult survival was reduced (< 3 days) on non-target plants. Choice testing revealed that females preferred to oviposit on S. terebinthifolia compared to non-target plants. Molecular methods and indicator host inoculations did not detect the presence of “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum”, “Ca. L. asiaticus”, “Ca. L. americanus”, “Ca. L. africanus”, or plant viruses in adult C. latiforceps. We conclude that releasing C. latiforceps in United States will have extremely low risk to non-target plants, and provides another tool for the management of S. terebinthifolia.