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Risk assessment of an exotic biocontrol agent: Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) does not establish in rainforest in southeast Queensland

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Walter, D. E., Azam, G. N., Waite, G. and Hargreaves, J. (1998) Risk assessment of an exotic biocontrol agent: Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) does not establish in rainforest in southeast Queensland. Austral Ecology, 23 (6). pp. 587-532. ISSN 1442-9985

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.1998.tb00769.x


The Chilean predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot, appeared in Australia in 1978 soon after being introduced into New Zealand as a specialized biological control agent of spider mites. It is known to be naturalized in agricultural habitats in southeast Queensland, Australia, although nothing is known about its distribution in native ecosystems. In order to determine whether P. persimilis is able to invade subtropical rainforest, we placed potted bean plants infested with its preferred prey, the two-spotted mite (Tetranychus urticae C.L. Koch), at 50 m intervals for 200 m on either side of the rainforest-field ecotone at four sites in southeast Queensland. Two, 4 and 6 weeks after placement, five leaves were sampled from each pot and any phytoseiid mites present were identified. The initial experiment took place in the spring and was repeated in summer and in autumn of 1997. At all four sites and in all three seasons P. persimilis rapidly colonized all of the pots in fields. In the rainforest, however, some pots were never colonized and significant populations of the predator developed only in the summer, and then only at the first stations, 50 m into the forest. These results suggest that even when its preferred prey is present, subtropical rainforest is not an appropriate habitat for P. persimilis. In addition, we reviewed extensive collections of phytoseiid mites from native forests and synanthropic habitats in Australia and found P. persimilis records only from fields, glasshouses, gardens, weeds, roadsides and similar disturbed habitats dominated by introduced plants, again suggesting that this biocontrol agent is not a rainforest invader.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Science > Entomology
Plant pests and diseases > Pest control and treatment of diseases. Plant protection > Organic plant protection. Biological control
Live Archive:15 Mar 2024 01:15
Last Modified:15 Mar 2024 01:15

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