n African Entomology - Deeming (Diptera: Ephydridae), a potential biological control agent for the submerged aquatic weed, (Ridl.) Moss ex Wager (Hydrocharitaceae)

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



The leaf-mining fly, Deeming (Diptera: Ephydridae), was investigated in its native range in South Africa, to determine its potential as a biological control agent for (Ridl.) Moss ex Wager (Hydrocharitaceae), an invasive submerged macrophyte that is weedy in many parts of the world. The fly was found throughout the indigenous range of the plant in South Africa. High larval abundance was recorded at field sites with nearly all shoots sampled containing larvae, with densities of up to 10 larvae per shoot. Adults laid batches of up to 15 eggs, usually on the abaxial sides of leaves. The larvae mined internally, leaving the epidermal tissues of the upper and lower leaves intact. The larvae underwent three instars which took an average of 24 days and pupated within the leaf tissue, from which the adults emerged. Impact studies in the laboratory showed that larval feeding significantly restricted the formation of side branches. Based on its biology and damage caused to the plant, could be considered as a useful biological control candidate for in countries where the plant is invasive.

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