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    Description

    Miconia calvescens DC. (Melastomataceae) is an invasive tree considered one of the greatest threats to natural ecosystems of Hawaii and other Pacific islands. The potential for using the defoliator Antiblemma leucocyma (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) as a biological control agent of M. calvescens was evaluated in the native habitat of the insect in Brazil. Impact assessment in the field showed that 37.2% of leaves presented damage by A. leucocyma, and among damaged leaves, 1.5—51.9% of the leaf area (16.3% on average) was affected. Damage was found in young to fully expanded leaves (28—915 cm2 in area). Individual A. leucocyma developing as third through sixth instars in the laboratory consumed an average of 1348 cm2 of M. calvescens leaf material in about 11 days. Populations of A. leucocyma in the field were heavily impacted (up to 83% parasitism) by a braconid parasitoid. Observations in the field and single- and two-host choice tests in the laboratory indicated that A. leucocyma has a narrow host range restricted to M. calvescens. Usefulness of this herbivore for biological control in Hawaii appears low, however, because of its probable susceptibility to generalist parasitoids.

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    Citation

    Badenes-Perez, F. R. and Johnson, M. T. (2008) Biology, herbivory, and host specificity of Antiblemma leucocyma (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on Miconia calvescens DC. (Melastomataceae) in Brazil. Biocontrol Science and Technology 18(2):183-192

    Keywords

    biological control, biotic interference, leaf area, host specificity, population dynamics, weed management

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/36791