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The status of weed biological control in Vanuatu

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Day, M. D. and Bule, S. (2016) The status of weed biological control in Vanuatu. NeoBiota, 30 . pp. 151-166. ISSN 1619-0033

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/neobiota.30.7049


Biological control of weeds in Vanuatu began in 1935, with the introduction of the tingid Teleonemia scrupulosa to control Lantana camara. To date, nine biological control agents have been intentionally introduced to control eight weed species. Seven of these agents have established on their respective hosts while an eighth, Zygogramma bicolorata, an agent for Parthenium hysterophorus has only recently been released and establishment is unlikely. The fate of a ninth agent, Heteropsylla spinulosa, released for the control of Mimosa diplotricha is unclear. Six other biological control agents, including Epiblema strenuana which was first detected in 2014 on P. hysterophorus on Efate have spread into the country unintentionally. Control of the target weeds range from inadequate to very good. By far the most successful agent has been Calligrapha pantherina which was introduced to control Sida acuta and Sida rhombifolia. The beetle was released on 14 islands and managed to spread to at least another 10 islands where it has effectively controlled both Sida spp. Control of the two water weeds, Eichhornia crassipes by Neochetina bruchi and N. eichhorniae and Pistia stratiotes by Neohydronomus affinis, has also been fairly good in most areas. Two agents, T. scrupulosa and Uroplata girardi, were released on L. camara, and four other agents have been found on the weed, but L. camara is still not under adequate control. The rust Puccinia spegazzinii was first released on Mikania micrantha in 2012 and successfully established. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is having an impact on M. micrantha, but detailed monitoring is required to determine its overall impact. Future prospects for weed biological control in Vanuatu are positive, with the expected greater spread of recently released agents and the introduction of new agents for P. hysterophorus, L. camara, Dolichandra unguis-cati and Spathodea campanulata.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:biological control, Eichhornia crassipes, Pistia stratiotes, Mikania micrantha, Sida acuta
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Biological control
Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Weed ecology
Plant pests and diseases > Weeds, parasitic plants etc
Live Archive:07 Jul 2016 02:36
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:50

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