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Biological control of Ziziphus mauritiana (Rhamnaceae): feasibility, prospective agents and research gaps

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Dhileepan, K. (2017) Biological control of Ziziphus mauritiana (Rhamnaceae): feasibility, prospective agents and research gaps. Annals of Applied Biology, 170 (3). pp. 287-300. ISSN 1744-7348

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/aab.12338


The tropical fruit tree, Ziziphus mauritiana (Rhamnaceae), a native of the Indian subcontinent, is a pasture and environmental weed in northern Australia and Fiji. In their native range, Ziziphus spp., including commercially cultivated Z. mauritiana and Z. jujuba, are subjected to a wide range of pests and diseases. The feasibility of classical biological control of this weed has not been explored to date. Effective biological control could reduce plant vigour and seed output, thereby limiting the spread of Z. mauritiana in Australia. Two Ziziphus species are native to Australia, hence, any prospective biological control agent should be specific to Z. mauritiana. Opportunistic field surveys and literature searches identified 133 species of phytophagous insects, 9 species of phytophagous mites and 12 plant pathogens on Ziziphus spp. Host records suggest the following are possibly specific to Z. mauritiana and hence are prospective biological control agents in Australia: the seed-feeding weevil Aubeus himalayanus; the leaf-feeding gracillariid moth Phyllonorycter iochrysis; the leaf-mining chrysomelid beetle Platypria erinaceus; the leaf-folding crambid moth Synclera univocalis; the leaf-galling midge Phyllodiplosis jujubae; and the gall-mites Aceria cernuus and Larvacarus transitans. Host range of the rust Phakopsora zizyphi-vulgaris includes many Ziziphus species, including the native Z. oenoplia and hence would not be a suitable biological control agent in Australia. The powdery mildew Pseudoidium ziziphi, with a host range restricted to Ziziphus species, has not been reported on Z. oenoplia. All available information on the pests and diseases of Z. mauritiana are from cultivated varieties. Hence, future surveys should focus on wild Z. mauritiana in the Indian subcontinent in areas that are climatically similar to the regions of northern Australia, where it is currently most abundant.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants
Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Biological control
Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture
Plant pests and diseases
Live Archive:16 Mar 2017 01:39
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:50

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