Avoiding conflicts between insect and weed biological control: selection of non-target species to assess host specificity of cabbage seedpod weevil parasitoids.
Classical biological control of insect pests and weeds may lead to potential conflicts, where insect pests are closely related to weed biological control agents. Such a conflict may occur in the classical biological control of the cabbage seedpod weevil, Ceutorhynchus obstrictus (Marsham) in North America, which belongs to the same subfamily, Ceutorhynchinae, as a number of agents introduced or proposed for introduction against non-indigenous invasive weed species. We propose a step-by-step procedure to select non-target species and thereby to develop a non-target species test list for screening candidate entomophagous biological control agents of a herbivore pest insect in a way that would simultaneously evaluate non-target potential on weed biological control agents and other non-target species. Using these recommendations, we developed a non-target test list for host specificity evaluations in the area of origin (Europe) and the area of introduction (North America) for cabbage seedpod weevil parasitoids. Scientifically based predictions on expected host-parasitoid interactions and ecological information about the ecological host range in the area of origin can help avoid conflicts, while still allowing the introduction of safe and effective agents against both insect pests and weeds.