Galls induced by Calophya latiforceps (Hemiptera: Calophyidae) reduce leaf performance and growth of Brazilian peppertree.
Schinus terebinthifolia Raddi (Anacardiaceae) (Brazilian peppertree) is one of the most serious terrestrial invasive plants in Florida. The leaf galling psyllid, Calophya latiforceps Burckhardt (Hemiptera: Calophyidae), was discovered feeding on the Brazilian peppertree in Bahia, Brazil, in 2010, and is being evaluated for release as a biological control agent. In order to understand how this candidate biological control agent affects the growth of S. terebinthifolia, we measured the effect of the psyllid on photosynthesis, leaf chlorophyll content and plant growth. Infested plants had lower photosynthesis compared to uninfested plants 30 and 45 days after gall initiation, and chlorophyll content was lower over a 70-d period. Plant height was reduced 31% and biomass 11% after three months of infestation. Results of these studies suggest that C. latiforceps will negatively affect the growth of the Brazilian peppertree if released in Florida.