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Impact of insects and fungi on doublegee (Emex australis) in the Western Australian wheatbelt

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Scott, J. K. and Shivas, R. G. (1998) Impact of insects and fungi on doublegee (Emex australis) in the Western Australian wheatbelt. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 49 (5). pp. 767-774. ISSN 1836-0947


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/A97143


Biotic influences on doublegee(Emex australis Steinheil) seed production wereinvestigated as a precursor to the introduction of new insect biologicalcontrol agents for this weed, and to investigate the cause of doublegeedecline in the northern and central wheatbelt of Western Australia since 1990.The symptoms of the decline are doublegee plants of reduced size withdistorted leaves, collapsed stems, and smaller achenes(the spiny seed-bearing fruit) that crumble when mature.Three sites were investigated in 1992 by surveys for insects and fungi, andinsect and fungus exclusion experiments.
Emex stem blight (Phomopsis emicis R. G. Shivas) waspresent at the 3 study sites. The Watheroo site had comparatively high levelsof dock aphids (Brachycaudus rumexicolens Patch) ondoublegee plants, the Badgingarra site had a comparatively high density ofdock sawfly (Lophyrotoma analis Costa) on doublegee, andvery few insects were present on doublegee at the Wongan Hills site. Viruseswere not detected in samples of plants showing the effects of decline.

The exclusion experiment showed a significant effect of removing insects andfungi on achene dry weight at the Watheroo site. There was no treatment effectat the Badgingarra and Wongan Hills sites. The biology of the fungus and theaphid lead to the conclusion that the primary cause of doublegee decline isthe dock aphid. This indicates that biological control againstE. australis might be achieved by using insects thatindirectly affect seed quality.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Brachycaudus rumexicolens, Phomopsis emicis, biological control, seed biology
Subjects:Plant pests and diseases > Weeds, parasitic plants etc
Plant pests and diseases > Pest control and treatment of diseases. Plant protection > Organic plant protection. Biological control
Live Archive:22 Apr 2024 06:01
Last Modified:22 Apr 2024 06:01

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