This key was developed as an extension tool
for identification of the most common herbivore species, feeding
in shoots of common reed in Europe and North America. Dissections
of about 8000 shoots collected at 15 sites in Germany, Switzerland,
Austria, and Hungary provided the data for the European part. The
American part will be included later. The identification is based
on damage caused by larval feeding. However, in some cases, descriptions
of larvae are needed for final identification. The key was designed
to identify shoots collected in late summer (August/September).
With some restrictions, it can be also applied to shoots collected
during winter until March. At a later stage the key might be extended
to spring collected shoots (May/June), since some herbivores can
only be found and identified at species level at this time of the
year. Information about biology, morphology, feeding pattern, and
distribution is given for each species.
During the last decades common reed (Phragmites
australis) has become an invasive weed along the East Coast
of the United States and Canada, displacing native wetland plant
species and causing declines in wetland wildlife. Comparison of
P. australis populstaions from North Amreica and other continents
using advanced genetic techniques have confirmed that both native
and introduced populations exist and that the rare native popultations
are being outcompeted by an introduced population.
An increasing number of herbivores, which feed on common reed are
being found in North America. Only five species, however, are native,
and more than 20 species have been accidentally introduced to North
A program to compare the herbivore communities associated with common
reed in North America and Europe, with a view to evaluating the
potential of biological control against common reed in North America
is underway. This program is coordinated by Professor Bernd Blossey
and the European partner is the CABI
Europe - Switzerland.
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