Location: Invasive Plant Research LaboratoryTitle: Effects of invasive plant haplotypes on a biological control agent (Lepidelphax pistiae) fecundity and impact
|GOODE, ASHLEY - University Of Florida
|TIPPING, PHILIP - Retired ARS Employee
|Dray, F Allen
|VALMONTE, RYANN - Former ARS Employee
|KNOWLES, BRITTANY - Former ARS Employee
Submitted to: Biocontrol Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/7/2023
Publication Date: 10/24/2023
Citation: Goode, A.B., Tipping, P.W., Dray Jr, F.A., Valmonte, R.J., Knowles, B.K., Pokorny, E.N. 2023. Effects of invasive plant haplotypes on a biological control agent (Lepidelphax pistiae) fecundity and impact. Biocontrol Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1080/09583157.2023.2272229.
Interpretive Summary: Pistia stratiotes (waterlettuce) was recently shown to be represented in Florida by multiple genotypes, possibly even multiple species. Performance of a proposed biological control agent, Lepidelphax pistiae (a planthopper), was tested in this study. Lepidelphax pistiae did not distinguish between purported “native” and “non-native” genotypes, and did not perform better or cause more damage to South American genotypes specifically. This lack of specificity at the genotypic level means this planthopper would likely damage waterlettuce genotypes that are native in Florida, and so is not suitable for use as a biological control agent.
Technical Abstract: Pistia stratiotes L. is an invasive floating plant that alters habitats by forming thick mats that shade out submerged vegetation and impedes navigation. Multiple genotypes of this plant have been identified from locations across its native and adventive ranges including types from throughout the Americas, South America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Australia. We investigated the performance of a known monophagus insect, Lepidelphax pistiae, on 10 P. stratiotes genotypes in no-choice experiments and the results indicated that while L. pistiae performance varied on different genotypes, there was considerable overlap in fitness and impact among genotypes. Lepidelphax pistiae did not distinguish between purported “native” and “non-native” genotypes, and did not perform better or cause more damage to South American genotypes specifically. While L. pistiae is monophagus on P. stratiotes, it was not specific enough to differentiate consistently among the tested genotypes and thus may not be suitable as a biological control agent because of the possible existence of native genotypes of P. stratiotes in Florida.