Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #362024

Research Project: Evaluation of Biological Control for Invasive Weeds of the Northeastern United States

Location: Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research

Title: Photoperiodic response of Abrostola asclepiadis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), a candidate biological control agent for swallow-worts (Vincetoxicum, Apocynaceae)

item Milbrath, Lindsey
item DOLGOVSKAYA, MARGARITA - Russian Academy Of Sciences
item VOLKOVITSH, MARK - Russian Academy Of Sciences
item SFORZA, RENE - Russian Academy Of Sciences
item Biazzo, Jeromy

Submitted to: Great Lakes Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/4/2019
Publication Date: 7/27/2019
Citation: Milbrath, L.R., Dolgovskaya, M., Volkovitsh, M., Sforza, R.F., Biazzo, J. 2019. Photoperiodic response of Abrostola asclepiadis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), a candidate biological control agent for swallow-worts (Vincetoxicum, Apocynaceae). Great Lakes Entomologist. 52(2).

Interpretive Summary: The amount of damage that an insect species can inflict on its host plant partly depends on the number of insect generations that occur each summer. Summer day lengths are a primary cue used by insects to either produce additional generations or to cease development in preparation for winter. A European moth is being assessed as a potential biological control agent for pale and black swallow-wort, invasive vines from Europe. We investigated the moth’s response to day lengths to determine the number of generations it might produce if released into North America. Under summer day lengths typical for New York and Ontario, only one generation per summer appears likely. The moth will therefore have a limited effect on swallow-wort populations, and should be given a low priority for release at this time.

Technical Abstract: A biological control program is in development for two swallow-wort species (Vincetoxicum, Apocynaceae), European vines introduced into northeastern North America. One candidate agent is the defoliator Abrostola asclepiadis (Denis and Schiffermüller) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). The moth reportedly has up to two generations in parts of its native range. We assessed the potential multivoltinism of Russian and French populations of the moth by rearing them under constant and changing photoperiods, ranging from 13:11 to 16:8 hr (L:D). The French population was also reared outdoors under naturally-changing day lengths at a latitude similar to northern New York State. No, to very few, adult moths emerged, with few exceptions, under any photoperiod treatment. We expect A. asclepiadis to be univoltine if it were to be released into North America, limiting its potential impact on swallow-worts. It should therefore be given a lower priority for release.