Biology and ecology of a mesquite twig girdler, Oncideres rhodosticta, in West Texas.
Oncideres rhodosticta Bates causes severe damage to small branches of mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) in many rangeland areas of Texas. The adults of the Cerambycid emerge from galleries in girdled branches from late August to the end of November. They feed on the tender bark of mesquite round buds, thorns and small limbs. Each female girdles about one branch and deposits about 8 eggs beneath the bark. Within 10-14 days, 98% of the eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the sapwood, opening the oviposition scar to expel frass after about 3 months. Pupation occurs in late August and early September and is preceded by a prepupal stage. Each larva consumes about 1.44 cm3 mesquite wood during its development. Parasites and predators kill 15-22% of the larvae, while 34-55% die from undetermined causes. Twig girdler larvae may compete for space and food with other Cerambycids and several species of Bostrichids. About 31% of all girdled branches are broken off by wind storms and livestock before the adults emerge, resulting in much mortality of larvae from high temperatures in the branches near the soil surface.