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Phylogenetic analyses reveal multiple new stem-boring Tetramesa taxa (Hymenoptera: Eurytomidae): implications for the biological control of invasive African grasses

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van Steenderen, C. J. M., Sutton, G. F., Yell, L. D., Canavan, K., McConnachie, A. J., Day, M. D. and Paterson, I. D. (2023) Phylogenetic analyses reveal multiple new stem-boring Tetramesa taxa (Hymenoptera: Eurytomidae): implications for the biological control of invasive African grasses. BioControl, 68 (6). pp. 697-708. ISSN 1573-8248


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-023-10231-4


Many native South African grass species have become invasive elsewhere in the world. The application of biological control to invasive grasses has been approached with trepidation in the past, primarily due to concerns of a perceived lack of host specific herbivores. This has changed in recent times, and grasses are now considered suitable candidates. The Tetramesa Walker genus (Hymenoptera: Eurytomidae) has been found to contain species that are largely host specific to a particular grass species, or complex of closely related congeners. Very little taxonomic work exists for Tetramesa in the southern hemisphere, and the lack of morphological variability between many Tetramesa species has made identification difficult. This limits the ability to assess the genus for potential biological control agents. Species delimitation analyses indicated 16 putative novel southern African Tetramesa taxa. Ten of these were putative Tetramesa associated with Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees and Sporobolus pyramidalis Beauv. and S. natalensis Steud., which are alien invasive weeds in Australia. Of these ten Tetramesa taxa, eight were only found on a single host plant, while two taxa were associated with multiple species in a single grass genus. The Tetramesa spp. on S. pyramidalis and S. africanus were deemed suitably host-specific to be used as biological control agents. Field host range data for the Tetramesa species on E. curvula revealed that the wasp may not be suitably host specific for use as a biological control agent. However, further host specificity testing on non-target native Australian species is required.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:Supplementary files at https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-023-10231-4
Keywords:African grasses DNA barcoding Eurytomidae Herbivorous wasps Invasion biology Tetramesa
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Biological control
Plant pests and diseases > Weeds, parasitic plants etc
Live Archive:11 Dec 2023 02:31
Last Modified:29 Feb 2024 04:49

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