oa African Entomology - Insect herbivores associated with indigenous species of Solanum (Solanaceae) in the Transvaal, South Africa, and In Namibia
Several indigenous Solanum (Solanaceae) species were surveyed in the Transvaal and Namibia as part of a broader study of the insect herbivores associated with indigenous, as well as weedy and cultivated exotic, solanurns in southern Africa. Insects were collected on three Solanum species in the Transvaal and on 10 in Namibia. Solanum panduriforme E. Mey. and S. incanum L. were abundant in both regions, while S. capense L. was the most common species in Namibia. These three Solanum species supported an abundance of insect herbivores, which included many oligophages found on solanurns in other regions of South Africa. Most of the Solanum insect species were found on a wide range of host plants, in a variety of habitats and under various climatic conditions. The extensive oligophagy among indigenous solanaceous insects has implications for introduced Solanum species and these are discussed. Although indigenous solanaceous insect species readily develop on the introduced crop S. melongena L. (eggplant), none attack the exotic weeds S. elaeagnifolium Cav. and S. sisymbriifolium Lam., except superficially. The taxonomic relationships between the introduced and indigenous Solanum species may account for these discrepancies. The surveys further emphasize the need to introduce natural enemies into South Africa for biological control of exotic Solanum weeds.
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