Host range of the leaf-tier Tentamen atrivirgulatum Metz (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae); an unsuitable candidate for biological control of Brazilian peppertree.
The life history and host range of the South American leaf-tier Tentamen atrivirgulatum Metz, 2019 (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) was evaluated to determine its suitability for classical biological control of invasive Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolia, in the USA. Larvae were collected during a survey in the native range of Brazil feeding on Brazilian peppertree. A quarantine colony was established and no-choice tests were conducted to determine the host range of this species. The results of these tests indicated that the larvae fed and completed development on seven of the eleven non-target species tested. Percent survival on these non-targets ranged from 20% to 100%. Larval survival was 50% when fed the target weed Brazilian peppertree. When larvae were fed leaves of these non-targets, pupal weights were significantly lower only for those fed Pistacia chinensis. Development time to the pupal and adult stages did not differ with larval diet. These no-choice results indicate T. atrivirgulatum larvae have a broad host range and thus this species will not be developed as a biological control agent for Brazilian peppertree in the USA.