Assessing herbivorous insects as potential biological controls for the invasive species Miconia calvescens (Myrtales: Melastomataceae).
Biological control methods may provide efficient and environmentally sustainable methods for curbing invasive weeds. Miconia calvescens DC (Melastomataceae) is an invasive weed of forest ecosystems on oceanic islands and one of the most invasive alien species. Therefore, the present study aimed to identify and assess the population dynamics of herbivorous insects that feed on M. calvescens in Brazil. The following species were found on M. calvescens plants at our three study locations: Apion sp. (Brentidae), Agrilus sp. (Buprestidae), Cryptorhynchus sp., Naupactus spp. (Curculionidae), Brasilaphthona sp., Cerotoma sp., Chrysodina sp., Colaspis sp., Diabrotica speciosa, and one unidentified species of the subfamily Cassidinae (Chrysomelidae). According to host specificity and impact caused to M. calvescens, the fruit-feeding Apion sp. and the stem-boring Cryptorhynchus sp. have high potential for this weed's biological control. Thus, our results provide useful information for potential biological control programmes for M. calvescens using herbivorous insects and will be helpful for companies working on natural weed control for this species.