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melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia)
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Melaleuca quinquenervia, or melaleuca, is an invasive Australian tree that once covered hundreds of thousands of hectares throughout Florida’s Everglades ecosystem. Control efforts began in earnest in the 1980’s incorporating chemical, mechanical and biological control methods. Through an integrated management approach, the landscape reach of melaleuca has contracted to just 1/10 of its former range. Though these efforts have been unequivocally successful on the larger scale, several small but critically important areas continue to experience invasion from melaleuca. This is likely due to environmental conditions that preclude the development of all of the current biological control agents, Oxyops vitiosa in particular. Based on this observation, we collected Lophodiplosis indentata or the melaleuca pea-galling midge as a final biological control agent for melaleuca in Florida. Host range testing has concluded and a petition was submitted to TAG in late 2019. Lophodiplosis indentata colonies are being maintained and studied at the USDA Invasive Plant Research Laboratory in Fort Lauderdale.

/ARSUserFiles/60320500/images/melaleuca in field.pngMelaleuca infestation in Belle Meade, Florida. (Photo:Dr. P. Tipping)

Biological control agent Lophodiplosis indentata is currently being testing and waiting approval for release from the Technical Advisory Group(TAG).


 

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Lophodiplosis indentata adult on melaleuca with damage.

(Photo: P. Clark)

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Lophodiplosis indentata galls on melaleuca.

(Photo: P. Clark)