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Relative host plant species use by the lantana biological control agent Aconophora compressa (Membracidae) across its native and introduced ranges

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Manners, A. G., Palmer, W.A., Burgos, A., McCarthy, J. and Walter, G.H. (2011) Relative host plant species use by the lantana biological control agent Aconophora compressa (Membracidae) across its native and introduced ranges. Biological Control, 58 (3). pp. 262-270.


Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2011.05.013


Aconophora compressa Walker (Hemiptera: Membracidae) was released in 1995 against the weed lantana in Australia, and is now found on multiple host plant species. The intensity and regularity at which A. compressa uses different host species was quantified in its introduced Australian range and also its native Mexican range. In Australia, host plants fell into three statistically defined categories, as indicated by the relative rates and intensities at which they were used in the field. Fiddlewood (Citharexylum spinosum L.: Verbenaceae) was used much more regularly and at higher densities than any other host sampled, and alone made up the first group. The second group, lantana (Lantana camara L.: Verbenaceae; pink variety) and geisha girl (Duranta erecta L.: Verbenaceae), were used less regularly and at much lower densities than fiddlewood. The third group, Sheena’s gold (another variety of D. erecta), jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia D. Don: Bignoniaceae) and myoporum (Myoporum acuminatum R. Br.: Myoporaceae), were used infrequently and at even lower densities. In Mexico, the insect was found at relatively low densities on all hosts relative to those in Australia. Densities were highest on L. urticifolia, D. erecta and Tecoma stans (L.) Juss. ex Kunth (Bignoniaceae), which were used at similar rates to one another. It was found also on a few other verbenaceous and non-verbenaceous host species but at even lower densities. The relative rate at which Citharexylum spp. and L. urticifolia were used could not be assessed in Mexico because A. compressa was found on only one plant of each species in areas where these host species co-occurred. The low rate at which A. compressa occurred on fiddlewood in Mexico is likely to be an artefact of the short-term nature of the surveys or differences in the suites of Citharexylum and Lantana species available there. These results provide further incentive to insist on structured and quantified surveys of non-target host use in the native range of potential biological control agents prior to host testing studies in quarantine.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science, Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:Crown Copyright © 2011
Keywords:Aconophora compressa; Citharexylum spinosum; Duranta erecta; Fiddlewood; Lantana camara; Multiple host plant use; Non-target effects; Polyphagy; Primary host plant; Secondary host plant; Weed biological control.
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Biological control
Science > Entomology
Live Archive:04 Aug 2011 06:04
Last Modified:19 Sep 2022 05:19

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