n African Entomology - Distribution and aspects of the biology and host range of sp. (Hymenoptera : Eurytomidae), a candidate agent for the biological control of (Ecklon & Zeyher) Schinz (Crassulaceae) in Australia

Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



Surveys were conducted in Madagascar for potential biological control agents for (Ecklon & Zeyher) Schinz, an invasive plant in Australia. The phytophagous wasp sp. (Eurytomidae : Eurytominae) was found throughout the natural distribution of its host plant, , in southern Madagascar and was imported into South Africa for life history studies and preliminary host-range testing. The wasp proved to be a suitable candidate agent because it was easy to rear, had multiple generations per year and was damaging to its host plant in the field and under laboratory conditions. Eggs are deposited in the plantlets (bulbils), leaves and/or seedling stems and the larvae complete their development in the plant. There are five larval instars and pupation occurs in excavated pupal chambers within the plant. Adults emerge from plants 5-10 days after pupation and are short-lived. Preliminary host range trials revealed that sp. is oligophagous with larvae being able to complete their development on only three other species in the Crassulaceae. Extensive host range trials still have to be undertaken in Australia before the wasp can be considered for release as a potential biological control agent for .

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