A new Schizomyia species (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) inducing flower bud galls on Chinese tallow tree Triadica sebifera in its native range.
Chinese tallow tree Triadica sebifera (L.) Small (Euphorbiaceae) was originally introduced from China to the United States for the production of candles and soaps in the late eighteenth century, but it became invasive in southern USA. Although traditional herbicidal and mechanical approaches for controlling tallow may provide temporary relief from invasion, these methods have been unable to prevent its spread. Biological control of tallow represents a potentially safe management option that can integrate with other control techniques. Through our search of tallow-specific natural enemies from its native range in China, we found several gall-inducing insects. One of these species is an undescribed gall midge (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) and may be a promising biological control agent by inducing flower bud galls on young, vigorously growing branches. Gall aggregations were often found on the same tree or group of trees. In the present study, this gall midge is described as Schizomyia triadicae Elsayed & Tokuda sp. nov. (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae).