The manual is out of print but
is now available online. Below, an adult melaleuca snout beetle rests on a
Manual Highlights Arthropods That Curb Aquatic
Weeds By Alfredo Flores June 24, 2005
A manual developed by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and now available online helps
scientists, resource managers and others identify biological control insects
that play a key role in helping to control aquatic weeds.
The importance of these plant-feeding insects to the dynamics of
aquatic and wetland ecosystems is the focus of the new, online reference called
"Insects and Other Arthropods That Feed on Aquatic and Wetland Plants." The
200-page manual explains the life cycles of more than 50 of the most common
insects and mites found in aquatic environments.
The manual was originally published by ARS scientists at the Invasive
Plant Research Laboratory (IPRL)
in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in cooperation with colleagues from the
Florida Department of Environmental
Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers. [Editor's note (July 1, 2005): ARS' supply of printed
copies of the manual is now exhausted, but web visitors can view or download
The IPRL mission is to address the complex, multifaceted problems
caused by the invasion of natural and agricultural ecosystems by exotic
species. Non-native plants pose some of the most serious threats to the health
and integrity of these ecosystems, according to
Center, IPRL research leader.
Center and other researchers at the lab conduct research to evaluate
the impact of exotic plants, as well as the safety and effectiveness of
biological control and other methods for managing them. The easy-to-use manual
presents data gathered through their work with common native plant-feeding
insects and naturalized imported biological control insects. It underscores the
importance of these insects in curbing invasive aquatic and wetland weeds.
The manual is organized alphabetically by plant name, from
alligatorweed to water-primrose, and the various insects that attack them. Each
section includes a history of each insect, its host plants, and its biology and
ecology. A special section concentrates on insects with broad diets--those that
can't be listed as feeding on just one particular host plant. For example, the
red spider mite (Tetranychus tumidus) feeds on plantain, mango, corn,
sweet potato and citrus, as well as on water hyacinth. The online version of
the IPRL manual is available at:
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.