Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The leafmining Leurocephala schinusae (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae): not suitable for the biological control of Schinus terebinthifolius (Sapindales: Anacardiaceae) in continental USA.

Abstract

The host range of Leurocephala schinusae Davis & Mc Kay (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) was studied to assess its suitability as a biological control agent of Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae), a serious environmental weed in the USA and elsewhere in the world. The host range was determined in the laboratory with adult no-choice oviposition (Argentina and USA) and larval development tests (USA). Seventeen plant species in ten genera were selected based on taxonomic relatedness to S. terebinthifolius, economic importance, and availability. Additional information was obtained by sampling foliage of S. terebinthifolius and six other South American native Anacardiaceae species in north-eastern Argentina. In the laboratory, except for Lithrea molleoides and Spondias mombin, all of the tested species were accepted for oviposition with a marked preference for Rhus aromatica. Incipient mines successfully developed into complete mines, pupae and adults on R. aromatica, Rhus copallinum, Schinus molle, Schinus lentiscifolius and S. terebinthifolius. In the field, although L. schinusae showed a clear preference for S. terebinthifolius, the host range, as determined by samples of host use in the native range, included three other Schinus species (S. lentiscifolius, Schinus longifolius, Schinus weinmannifolius) and one Astronium species (Astronium balansae). In conclusion, L. schinusae will not be considered for the biological control of S. terebinthifolius in continental US. However, the utilisation of this species in other infested areas such as Hawaii and Australia should be further discussed.