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Damage potential of an introduced biological control agent Agonosoma trilineatum (F.) on bellyache bush (Jatropha gossypiifolia L.)

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Bebawi, F.F., Lockett, C.J., Davis, K.M. and Lukitsch, B.V. (2007) Damage potential of an introduced biological control agent Agonosoma trilineatum (F.) on bellyache bush (Jatropha gossypiifolia L.). Biological Control, 41 (3). pp. 415-422.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2007.03.007

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


The seed-feeding jewel bug, Agonosoma trilineatum (F.), is an introduced biological control agent for bellyache bush, Jatropha gossypiifolia L. To quantify the damage potential of this agent, shadehouse experiments were conducted with individual bellyache bush plants exposed to a range of jewel bug densities (0, 6 or 24 jewel bugs/plant). The level of abortion of both immature and mature seed capsules and impacts on seed weight and seed viability were recorded in an initial short-term study. The ability of the jewel bug to survive and cause sustained damage was then investigated by measuring seed production, the survival of adults and nymph density across three 6-month cycles. The level of seed capsule abortion caused by the jewel bug was significantly affected by the maturity status of capsules and the density of insects present. Immature capsules were most susceptible and capsule abortion increased with jewel bug density. Similarly, on average, the insects reduced the viability of bellyache bush seeds by 79% and 89% at low and high densities, respectively. However, sustaining jewel bug populations for prolonged periods proved difficult. Adult survival at the end of three 6-month cycles averaged 11% and associated reductions in viable seed production ranged between 55% and 77%. These results suggest that the jewel bug has the potential to reduce the number of viable seeds entering the soil seed bank provided populations can be established and maintained at sufficiently high densities.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Agri-Science, Biosecurity Queensland, Crop and Food Science
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Additional Information:© Crown copyright. © Elsevier.
Keywords:Capsule abortion; seed production; seed viability; weed control; woody weeds.
Subjects:Science > Zoology > Invertebrates > Insects
Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Biological control
Plant pests and diseases > Weeds, parasitic plants etc
Live Archive:13 Jan 2009 06:48
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:43

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