Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #330498

Research Project: Management of Invasive Weeds in Rangeland, Forest and Riparian Ecosystems in the Far Western U.S. Using Biological Control

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Title: Development rate, consumption, and host fidelity of Neostauropus alternus (Walker, 1855) Lepidoptera: Notodontidae

Author
item Pratt, Paul
item Herdocia, K - St Thomas University
item Valentin, V - St Thomas University
item Makinson, J - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
item Purcell, M.f. - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
item Mattison, Elizabeth
item Rayamajhi, Min
item Moran, Patrick
item Raghu, S - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Submitted to: Pan Pacific Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/17/2016
Publication Date: 12/28/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5700723
Citation: Pratt, P.D., Herdocia, K., Valentin, V., Makinson, J., Purcell, M., Mattison, E.D., Rayamajhi, M.B., Moran, P.J., Raghu, S. 2016. Development rate, consumption, and host fidelity of Neostauropus alternus (Walker, 1855) Lepidoptera: Notodontidae. Pan Pacific Entomology. 92(4):200-209. doi:10.3956/2016-92.4.200.

Interpretive Summary: Downey rose myrtle (or scientifically known as Rhodomyrtus tomentosa) is a native to Asia but an invasive weed in Florida and Hawaii, USA. Surveys for natural enemies of this exotic shrub in Hong Kong, China resulted in the development of a laboratory colony and host range testing of a caterpillar (Neostauropus alternus) as a potential biological control agent of downey rose myrtle. Twelve critical test plant species were presented to the caterpillar larvae. Complete development was limited to downey rose myrtle and three other plant species: the ornamental Myrtus communis, and the Florida natives Myrcianthes fragrans and Morella cerifera. The generalized feeding patterns exhibited in this research indicates that additional resources dedicated to the development of N. alternus as a biological control agent of R. tomentosa in Florida are unwarranted.

Technical Abstract: The Asian shrub Rhodomyrtus tomentosa is an invasive weed in Florida and Hawaii, USA. Surveys for natural enemies of this exotic shrub in Hong Kong, China resulted in the development of a laboratory colony and host range testing of Neostauropus alternus (Walker 1855) as a potential biological control agent of R. tomentosa. Twelve critical test plant species were presented to N. alternus larvae. Complete development was limited to R. tomentosa, the ornamental Myrtus communis, and the Florida natives Myrcianthes fragrans and Morella cerifera. Total development time was > 10 days faster when held with R. tomentosa versus M. communis and M. cerifera, with these species requiring an extra larval instar to reach the pupal stage. Consumption rates were similar among R. tomentosa and M. cerifera, but due to the longer development time, larvae consumed two-fold more leaf material on M. cerifera. Despite an apparent larval survival and development preference for R. tomentosa, it is clear that the physiological host range of N. alternus includes the Florida native M. cerifera and the ornamentally important M. communis. The generalized feeding patterns exhibited in this research indicates that additional resources dedicated to the development of N. alternus as a biological control agent of R. tomentosa in Florida are unwarranted.