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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » LAPRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345288

Research Project: Cattle Fever Tick Control and Eradication

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pests Research

Title: Introduction, establishment and dispersal in Mexico of the wasp Tetramesa romana, biological control agent of the giant reed

Author
item Martinez Jimenez, M - Non ARS Employee
item Goolsby, John
item Racelis, A - University Of Texas Rio Grande Valley
item Perez De Leon, Adalberto - Beto
item Negrete Arroyos, D - Non ARS Employee

Submitted to: Southwestern Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2017
Publication Date: 6/1/2017
Citation: Martinez Jimenez, M., Goolsby, J., Racelis, A., Perez De Leon, A.A., Negrete Arroyos, D. 2017. Introduction, establishment and dispersal in Mexico of the wasp Tetramesa romana, biological control agent of the giant reed. Southwestern Entomologist. 42(2):427-434.

Interpretive Summary: The arundo wasp, Tetramesa romana, is a specialist, plant-feeding insect biological control agent for the invasive weed - Arundo donax, also known as giant reed, carrizo cane, and in Mexico, carrizo gigante and el ladron de agua. This weed, which is native to Spain, grows along the banks of rivers, creeks in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico, causing serious impacts by displacing native vegetation, enhancing the survival of cattle fever ticks, interfering with law enforcement activities along the international border and competing for scarce water resources in an arid region with frequent droughts. The arundo wasp was released along the Rio Grande River between Del Rio and Brownsville, TX in 2009 and is now causing significant damage to giant reed and allowing for regrowth of desirable riverine vegetation. Parallel releases of the arundo wasp were made by collaborators at the Instituto Mexicano de Tecnologia del Agua (Mexican Institute of Water Technology, Morelos, Mexico) in 2010 along the Rio Grande near Nuevo Laredo in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas and 1000 km south in the central state of Morelos. Biannual field surveys in these locations show establishment and dispersal of more than 500m from the release locations within one year. The arundo wasp is expected to produce economic benefits in Mexico, including the bi-national Rio Grande/Rio Bravo river basin, that are similar to the those documented in the U.S.

Technical Abstract: The arundo wasp, Tetramesa romana, is a specialist, plant-feeding insect biological control agent for the invasive weed - Arundo donax, also known as giant reed, carrizo cane, and in Mexico, carrizo gigante and el ladron de agua. This weed, which is native to Spain, grows along the banks of rivers, creeks in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico, causing serious impacts by displacing native vegetation, enhancing the survival of cattle fever ticks, interfering with law enforcement activities along the international border and competing for scarce water resources in an arid region with frequent droughts. The arundo wasp was released along the Rio Grande River between Del Rio and Brownsville, TX in 2009 and is now causing significant damage to giant reed and allowing for regrowth of desirable riverine vegetation. Parallel releases of arundo wasps were reared and made by collaborators at the Instituto Mexicano de Tecnologia del Agua (Mexican Institute of Water Technology, Morelos, Mexico) in 2010 along Rio Grande at 3 sites (18,600 wasps) near Nuevo Laredo in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas and at six sites (79025 wasps) 1000 km south in the central state of Morelos. These sites represent dry steppe climates of Tamaulipas in the Chihuahuan desert and cool subtropical of Morelos in the central Mexican plateau. Biannual field surveys in these locations show establishment and dispersal of more than 500m from the release locations within one year. Wasp density of 65-88 exit holes per 1/m2 of A. donax is similar that found along the Rio Grande in Texas of 60-80 exit holes. The arundo wasp is expected to produce economic benefits in Mexico, including the bi-national Rio Grande/Rio Bravo river basin, that are similar to those documented in the U.S.