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Will biological control of Lantana camara ever succeed? Patterns, processes & prospects

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Zalucki, M.P., Day, M.D. and Playford, J. (2007) Will biological control of Lantana camara ever succeed? Patterns, processes & prospects. Biological Control, 42 (3). pp. 251-261.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2007.06.002

Publisher URL: http://www.elsevier.com


Despite biocontrol research spanning over 100 years, the hybrid weed, commonly referred to as Lantana camara, is not under adequate control. Host specificity and varietal preference of released agents, climatic suitability of a region for released agents, number of agents introduced and range or area of infestation appear to play a role in limiting biocontrol success. At least one of 41 species of mainly leaf- or flower-feeding insects has been introduced, or spread, to 41 of the 70 countries or regions where lantana occurs. Over half (26) of these species have established, achieving varying levels of herbivory and presumably some degree of control. Accurate taxonomy of the plant and adaptation of potential agents to the host plant are some of the better predictors of at least establishment success. Retrospective analysis of the hosts of introduced biocontrol agents for L. camara show that a greater proportion of agents that were collected from L. camara or Lantana urticifolia established, than agents that were collected from other species of Lantana. Of the introduced agents that had established and were oligophagous, 18 out of 22 established. The proportion of species establishing, declined with the number of species introduced. However, there was no trend when oceanic islands were treated separately from mainland areas and the result is likely an artefact of how introductions have changed over time. A calculated index of the degree of herbivory due to agents known to have caused some damage per country, was not related to land area infested with lantana for mainlands nor for oceanic islands. However, the degree of herbivory is much higher on islands than mainlands. This difference between island and mainland situations may reflect population dynamics in patchy or metapopulation landscapes. Basic systematic studies of the host remain crucial to successful biocontrol, especially of hybrid weeds like L. camara. Potential biocontrol agents should be monophages collected from the most closely related species to the target weed or be phytophages that attack several species of lantana. Suitable agents should be released in the most ideal ecoclimatic area. Since collection of biocontrol agents has been limited to a fraction of the known number of phytophagous species available, biocontrol may be improved by targeting insects that feed on stems and roots, as well as the agents that feed on leaves and flowers.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:QPIF
Additional Information:© Elsevier.
Keywords:Biogeographic analysis; host specificity; hybrid species; level of herbivory; species establishment.
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Biological control
Live Archive:01 Sep 2009 06:30
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:48

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