n African Entomology - Effects of seed availability on egg distribution patterns and larval survival in (Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae), a seed-feeding biological control agent of (Fabaceae) in South Africa : short communication




Following widespread introduction for agroforesty, the Central American tree (Lam.) de Wit (Fabaceae) (leucaena) has become invasive, largely through excessive seed production, in several countries worldwide, including South Africa (Olckers 2011 and references therein). The seed beetle (Schaeffer) (Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae) was released in South Africa in 1999 to increase seed mortality and thereby reduce further invasion, without compromising the plant's utilization (Shoba & Olckers 2010; Olckers 2011). The beetles lay their eggs on the outside surfaces of seed pods, or loose seeds that have been dehisced, and each larva burrows into a single seed which it destroys in completing its development (Shoba & Olckers 2010). Although the beetle has become widely established in South Africa (Olckers 2011), the levels of seed damage recorded so far have been erratic and relatively modest (Sharratt & Olckers 2012).


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