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Assessing the biological control potential of an adventitiously-established "pest", Scirtothrips aurantii (Faure), on a weed, Bryophyllum delagoense (Eckl. & Zeyh.), in Queensland

Rafter, M.A. and Palmer, W.A. and Walter, G.H. (2011) Assessing the biological control potential of an adventitiously-established "pest", Scirtothrips aurantii (Faure), on a weed, Bryophyllum delagoense (Eckl. & Zeyh.), in Queensland. Biological Control, 58 (3). pp. 346-353.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2011.05.004

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

Abstract

South African citrus thrips (Scirtothrips aurantii) established adventitiously in Australia. Although it is a major horticultural pest in Africa, it is now advocated as a possible biological control agent against Bryophyllum delagoense Eckl. & Zeyh. (Crassulaceae). To evaluate the biocontrol potential of S. aurantii a two year field study was conducted on the western Darling Downs of southern Queensland. Imidacloprid insecticide was applied to two quadrats at each of 18 field sites to assess, in the absence of S. aurantii, the persistence of individual plants and to quantify propagule production and recruitment by this declared weed. A third quadrat was left, as a control, to be infested naturally by S. aurantii. When released from herbivory by thrips in the field, plants grew significantly more, flowered more, and were significantly more fecund than plants in the quadrats with S. aurantii. Increases in growth and fecundity translated into significantly increased plant numbers but not increased recruitment. Recruitment even declined in experimental quadrats, through the indirect effects of releasing plants from herbivory. Field sampling also revealed that S. aurantii may be sensitive to seasonal climatic fluctuations. These and other local climatic influences may limit the biological control potential of the insect.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Biosecurity Queensland
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:© Elsevier.
Keywords:Insecticide exclusion study; mother-of-millions; South African citrus thrips; biocontrol potential.
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Biological control
Science > Entomology
Deposited On:05 Sep 2011 05:43
Last Modified:05 Dec 2011 02:52

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