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Prioritisation of damaging weed biological control agents for prickly acacia (Vachellia nilotica subsp. indica) based on insect exclusion studies in the native range

Kunjithapatham, D., Balu, A., Sudha, S. and Raghu, S. (2022) Prioritisation of damaging weed biological control agents for prickly acacia (Vachellia nilotica subsp. indica) based on insect exclusion studies in the native range. Biological Control, 172 . p. 104968. ISSN 1049-9644

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Article Link(s): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2022.104968

Publisher URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1049964422001335

Abstract

Prickly acacia, Vachellia nilotica subsp. indica (Benth.) Kyal. & Boatwr. (Fabaceae), native to India, is a target for biological control in Australia. Native range insecticide exclusion studies were conducted at two sites (Coimbatore and Thoppur) in India to evaluate the impact of insect herbivores on prickly acacia, to prioritise agents. At each site, prickly acacia plants were either exposed to or protected from insect herbivores and the incidence of insects were recorded at quarterly intervals. More insect species occurred at Thoppur (12) than at Coimbatore (9) and among them the scale insect Anomalococcus indicus Ayyar (Hemiptera: Lecanodiaspididae) was the predominant species at both sites. Insect herbivory significantly reduced plant height, basal stem diameter, number of branches, the number of leaves, and stem biomass at Coimbatore, while the impact was evident only for plant height at Thoppur. However, there were significant reductions in plant height (38–55%), basal stem diameter (20–31%), number of branches (21–45%), number of leaves (79–99%), leaf biomass (81–96%), stem biomass (67–84%) and root biomass (61–84%) in plants infested with A. indicus than in plants without A. indicus in insects excluded plots. Infestation by A. indicus resulted in 18 and 27% plant mortality in Coimbatore and Thoppur, respectively. Based on potential impact, A. indicus was prioritised for importation and detailed host-specificity testing in Australia.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:Weed biological control Native range Exclusion studies Agent prioritisation India Australia
Subjects:Science > Entomology
Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Biological control
Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Weed ecology
Plant pests and diseases > Weeds, parasitic plants etc
Plant pests and diseases > Pest control and treatment of diseases. Plant protection
Deposited On:13 Jun 2022 04:18
Last Modified:13 Jun 2022 04:18

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