Search, identify and export natural enemies of Schinus terebinthifolius, Pistia stratiotes, Salvinia molesta, and Eichhornia crassipes
Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory
Project Number: 6629-22000-011-54
Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Dec 01, 2012
End Date: Nov 30, 2015
1. To search for and identify natural enemies of Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae), Pistia stratiotes L. (Araceae), Salvinia molesta D.Mitch. (Salviniaceae), and Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms (Pontederiaceae) in Argentina and evaluate their potential use as biocontrol agents in the USA. When promising biocontrol agents are found, the following host range studies will be conducted: a) surveys of plant use under natural condition in the native range; and b) laboratory host specificity tests.
2. To export biological control agents of S. terebinthifolius, P. stratiotes, S. molesta, and E. crassipes to IPRL.
Collecting permits for the natural enemies of S. terebinthifolius, P. stratiotes, S. molesta, and E. crassipes will be obtained at the respective Provincial Fauna Directions. The insects will be collected mainly individually with aspirator or collecting the whole plant and will be held in plastic containers during the trip and provided fresh foliage until arrival to FUEDEI. Cultures of promising biocontrol agents will be established and data will be obtained on their biology: longevity, fecundity, duration of larval instars, etc. Host specificity tests: Adults of the candidates will be tested with feeding tests and with ovipositions test on the target weeds and on related plants. Test plants will be selected by phylogeny and environmental association. In addition, host specificity test will be performed o inmatures instars if necessary.